Direct Payments

Most prevalent issues surrounding direct payments involve; setting arbitrary limits, delaying/incorrectly backdating payments, or delaying the approval of DPs.

In terms of assessing a person’s eligibility for a Direct Payment and applying for one, there are no set guidelines for how long this should take. The LGO consider it reasonable to expect services to complete a non-urgent application in 12 weeks.

As long as there are sufficient records and evidence, the LGO will go through exact care costs and time scales, and work out exactly how much of your DPs should be backdated and paid to you if the Council failed to do so correctly in the first place.  Some of the reports have highlighted that, because the LGO is not a court of law, it can be more generous in order to put people back in the position they should have been in. So, an unreasonable delay, resulting in a person losing out on additional support, can be compensated for by way of an LGO recommendation.

The LGO reports emphasise that a Council cannot withdraw your DPs without review.

Name of CouncilTitle of ReportNumber
SheffieldSheffield City Council at fault for multiple errors in a care assessment and incorrectly commissioning care with a provider previously complained about19 019 521
WorcestershireWorcestershire County Council at fault for failing to properly explain the charging and net direct payment process, failing to monitor a direct payment account, and failing to engage consistently with a person’s financial representative19 019 886
KentKent County Council at fault for incorrectly backdating payments 18 002 469
Buckinghamshire County CouncilBuckinghamshire County Council at fault for deciding to stop Direct Payments without a formal review, without giving notice and without ensuring established needs would still be met on transfer to Continuing Health Care17 016 036
Cheshire West & ChesterCheshire West and Cheshire Council at fault for stopping direct payments without explanation and applying an arbitrary DRE disregard18 010 441
London Borough of BromleyLondon Borough of Bromley at fault for setting an arbitrary limit on a personal budget and failing to show how assessed needs could be met within the final sum offered10 007 855
CalderdaleCalderdale Council at fault for poor communication, failing to involve a person in decisions surrounding their care, wrongly stopping direct payments and severe delays in carrying out an assessment19 004 821
Cornwall County CouncilCornwall County Council at fault for forcing a carer to carry on meeting needs by stopping direct payments and leaving any alternative source of care undelivered19 004 581
StaffordshireStaffordshire County Council at fault for stopping respite care funding, and not sufficiently involving the person and their family in assessments and reviews19 003 615
Cheshire West and ChesterCheshire West and Chester Council found not at fault for recovering direct payments, but found at fault in delivering care not in line with the care plan 18 005 390
DorsetDorset County Council at fault for unreasonable delays in funding Direct Payments 18 012 800
HampshireHampshire County Council at fault for failing to backdate direct payment to match increase in cost of care 18 007 332
KirkleesKirklees Council at fault for removing respite care and setting arbitrary limit to funding19 008 980
KirkleesKirklees Council at fault for the poor quality of care and record keeping evident at an agency it commissioned (Locala HomeCare Limited)18 002 031
LeicestershireLeicestershire Council at fault for failing to arrange home care within a reasonable timescale, and failing to provide information about direct payments18 017 173
SomersetSomerset Council at fault for facilitating accrual of charging debts and for stating it ‘could not’ provide care until settlement of that debt 18 016 382
CornwallCornwall Council at fault for delays in approving direct payments 18 018 350
HaveringLondon Borough of Havering Council fails to ensure a sufficient personal budget to cover care and support needs, and offers an arbitrary ‘standard’ amount
18 018 467
RedbridgeLondon Borough of Redbridge Council at fault for incorrectly charging a carer the full amount of his support costs, after wrongly requesting financial assessment 18 015 695
NorfolkNorfolk County Council at fault for failing to produce a clear care plan and incorrect advice on direct payments and Disability Related Expenditure 18 012 426
MertonMerton found at fault for not reviewing a care plan, not justifying its rationale for offering less than was regarded as needed, and not monitoring direct payments21 010 255
North YorkshireNorth Yorkshire County Council at fault for delays in completing a carer’s assessment, and non-provision of agreed respite funding20 002 410
SuffolkSuffolk at fault for a long review process and assessments that weren’t joined UP21 016 450
WirralWirral Council at fault for failing to complete a timely assessment of care needs, when a person arrived from another council’s area, resulting in a direct loss and breach of the Continuity provisions in ss37-38 of the Care Act22 005 781
Croydon Croydon Council at fault for appearing to place financial considerations before wellbeing22 000 071
RutlandRutland County Council failed to properly consider personal budget needs.22 000 033
StaffordshireStaffordshire County Council found to be at fault for failing to take a flexible approach on direct payments being paid to family members in the same household, during the COVID-19 pandemic  20 005 645
East SussexEast Sussex County Council found at fault for not following COVID Guidance and not acting flexibly during the pandemic causing a delay with setting up a direct payment to make up for non-provision21 015 871
KingstonKingston Upon Hull found at fault for failing to review direct payments, leading to a care contribution debt22 002 632
WestminsterWestminster City Council not at fault for changing its practice of not asking for DRE receipts21 009 408
CroydonLondon Borough of Croydon at fault for failing to conduct a re-assessment, provide appropriate support, provide or keep accurate documentation or appropriately to handle a complaint22 001 091
City of YorkCity of York at fault for contributing to carer strain, failing to consider direct payments and safeguarding failures 22 005 428
HampshireHampshire County Council found at fault and having caused injustice, leading to restitution for leaving the direct payment short of the PA’s remuneration22 001 239
StaffordshireStaffordshire at fault for delayed assessment after a move to the area, failing to conduct a carer’s assessment, provide agreed services and support with managing a DP 22 002 399
EssexEssex County Council fail to follow statutory guidance in assessing and setting up care and support22 010 085
LancashireLancashire County Council at fault for failing to secure the planned respite care and over communications about potential supported living settings22 010 039
StaffordshireStaffordshire County Council fail properly to advise direct payment recipients of their rights22 005 255
LancashireLancashire County Council delay care and financial assessments for over four months, causing financial loss and avoidable distress22 013 521
WalthamWaltham Forest found at fault for not following direct payment process and miscalculation of multiple financial assessments21 017 787