The direct payment rules do have a restriction on the employment as a personal assistant of a partner or close relative of the person who receives the direct payments.
It also has certain rules that apply to the authorised person who receives the direct payments on someone's behalf.
The rules also apply to anyone who lives with the person who receives the direct payments.
This will include:
- a husband, wife or civil partner
- a boyfriend, girlfriend or partner
- a close relative for example a son, daughter, in-laws, brother, sister, in-laws niece, nephew
- a partner of the close relative
This rule is not intended to prevent people using their direct payments to employ a live-in personal assistant if they are assessed as requiring this level of support.
There is no legal restriction on individuals using their direct payment to pay relatives who don’t live with them.
The Council has some discretion in giving approval for direct payments to be used to employ close relatives who live in the same household.
The employment of these partners or relatives is only agreed in exceptional circumstances where the Council is satisfied that there is not an acceptable alternative source of support that is available through the use of direct payments or alternative services before agreeing to these arrangements.
Consideration will be given for the direct payment to be used to employ a close relative who lives in the same household as the direct payment recipient in situations:
- where cultural or religious needs which can only be met by someone who understands the requirements of that culture, for example, meal preparation or personal care
- where a person's or child's health and well being will be detrimentally affected by any other arrangements which can be made with direct payments
- where care is required frequently and/or intermittently and/or unpredictably
- where the person is in the end stages of terminal illness and where it is necessary to provide care in a sensitive and appropriate manner
- where the person has specific communication needs and the employment of a close relative living in the same household is necessary to facilitate open communication and will support decision making for the direct payment recipient
- where the care cannot be provided in any other way but the tasks that are agreed in the care plan are essential and necessary to ensure the person’s well-being
Both the service user and the close relative agree to lawfully implement the rights and responsibilities of the employee-employer relationship and the formal requirements associated with employing a close relative as a personal assistant.
Penderels Trust (opens in a new window) a direct payment support service or other support provider should be involved to provide support and advice with this.
Difficulty in the recruitment of workers is not a reason in itself for the exceptional circumstances to be applied, but a crisis situation may be considered for an interim period for example of 3 months. After this time the situation will then be reviewed again.
To obtain approval for the employment of a close relative must be given in writing by the person who receives the direct payment.
The Councils process is to be followed and the Council decides whether the exception applies to the situation, advises of the decision and/or makes recommendations before an exception is considered once the Council is satisfied that there is not an acceptable alternative.
Who can I contact for more advice?
You can contact the Access, Triage and Intervention Service (ATIS) please call 01905 768053.
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).