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Using a care home agency

You may want to use a home care agency (also known as a domiciliary care agency) to provide your care.

If you choose to use an agency, the staff who work with you are usually employed by the agency. In this case you will not be the employer and the agency will be responsible for managing the staff and will pay their wages.

You will still maintain choice and control as you will make arrangements directly with the agency and will be able to say how, when and where your support will be provided.

You will pay the agency invoice when you receive it from your direct payments bank account.

Always check that you have discussed all of your arrangements with the agency and have an agreement in writing. Make sure the agency has given you a breakdown of all their costs in writing.

You do not want to have any unexpected costs for example additional charges for mileage, bank holidays that you have not previously agreed to pay.

Sometimes the agency charges more than your direct payment. You may have to pay the difference from your own personal funds. The council would advise you discuss any additional costs with your social care practitioner when your direct payments are arranged.

Agencies providing personal care are required by law to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (opens in a new window). You can ask the agency staff to show you details of its registration. You can have support in making these arrangements.

We recommend that you use Penderels Trust (opens in a new window) a direct payment support service. Before you decide to buy a service from a particular agency we recommend that you ask the agency:

  • about their registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)
  • to see a copy of their insurance policy
  • if all their staff have had a DBS (criminal record check)
  • how it manages its staff and how often someone will come and check you are happy with its service
  • if they employ the staff and meet all their tax and national insurance payments, minimum wage requirements
  • how they would deal with any complaint you may have with the agency’s service
  • how they arrange for staff cover during holiday time or through absence due to sickness and if a member of the agency staff will discuss this with you when cover for regular staff needs to be made
  • what training they provide for their staff and what qualifications and experience do they have. 
  • How you can tell them if you are not happy with their service
  • if they carry out a risk assessment for you and the staff; and
  • if you will be given copies of the hours the staff work so that you can pay the correct amount
  • how much it will cost you to use their service and to pay the money to them.

Once you have been working with individual members of staff for some time you may think you could employ them direct as a personal assistant and not use the agency.

Some agency agreements allow you to employ their staff directly but may charge you a fee as part of their conditions for providing the service for you.

We strongly recommend that you talk to Penderels Trust (opens in a new window) a direct payment support service before you do this.

Who can I contact for more advice?

You can contact the Access, Triage and Intervention Service (ATIS) please call 01905 7680533.

Penderels Trust

Offer advice, guidance and practical solutions to enable people with disabilities and older people to live independently in their own homes, to achieve their goals in life and to help them play an active part in their community. For more help with personal budgets and direct payments visit the Penderels Trust website (opens in a new window).