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What can direct payments be used for?

Direct payments for using a care home agency

You can choose to use your direct payment to pay for a home care agency to deliver your care. You will still maintain choice and control by being able to choose which home care agency you prefer. You will pay the agency invoice when you receive it from your direct payment account. Always advise home care agencies you are funded by the council via a direct payment.

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 e.g. mileage, bank holidays etc.

Your direct payment will cover a set rate for home care agencies, if the agency you choose is of a higher cost you can top up the difference using personal finances to have the agency of your choice. You can discuss this with your social care worker following your referral.

You can look for care in your local area by doing a search on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website (opens in a new window). Agencies providing personal care are required by law to be registered with the CQC. You can look through the list of agencies that provide care in your area and see which agency you would like to choose. Each home care agency has a CQC rating on safe delivery of care, the effectiveness, how caring they are, how responsive they are and whether they are well led. If you would prefer the council to carry out this search for you, please contact the adult contact team (ACT) on 01905 768053.

When purchasing a home care agency service, ensure you check they are CQC registered, staff are DBS check and they have the correct insurance policies in place.

We recommend the following checks before you select your home care agency:

  • how it manages its staff and how often someone will come and check you are happy with its service
  • 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
  • if they carry out a risk assessment for you and the staff
  • request a copy of your care plan which states the amount of support you will receive, ensure you have discussed hourly rates as per arrangements with the council

We recommend that you talk to our direct payment support service before with any queries about you direct payment.


Direct Payment Support Service can help with a range of queries for example about what DP’s are, how funding can be spent including options such as employed PA, self-employed PA’s, microenterprises, the PA finder/matching service, domiciliary care, the costing of services, recruiting a PA, queries relating to employment law, contracts of employment, being a good employer, training, Managed (third party) Accounts, payroll advice, HMRC advice, insurance information (public liability and employers liability), pension and autoenrollment, national insurance and national living wage and national minimum wage and redundancy advice and calculations.