This approach is sometimes called personalisation. It means you have greater choice and control about how your needs are met.
A personal budget is the amount of money that the council assesses will be needed to pay for your eligible support needs. The total amount of budget could include a contribution from you if you are required to make a payment after you have been assessed by the our financial assessment team under Lewisham’s Fairer Charging Policy.
A personal budget can be used to meet the outcomes identified in your support plan, for example some outcomes may be in relation to:
During your support planning you will identify the outcomes that are personal to you and work out the best way to spend your budget.
If you qualify for support from the council towards your care needs then you can choose to have a sum of money paid to you to buy services or equipment, rather than have the council arrange those services for you.
If you choose to have the money paid to you this is called a direct payment. The standard way in which direct payments are paid is through a prepaid card. The card is loaded every four weeks in advance.
Direct payments offer greater flexibility and control since it means that you can arrange your support in a way that best suits your needs and lifestyle. If for example you choose to employ someone directly, it means you can ask them to attend your home at a time that is convenient for you.
Direct payments offer a great deal of freedom but along with this comes some responsibility. If you choose to employ someone you will have certain obligations, such as:
We offer advice, information and support with:
If you are interested in direct payment, but would like help in administering the payment you have a council supported direct payment, sometimes called a managed account.
This is where you still have overall responsibility as the direct payment recipient, but the council will make payments on your behalf in accordance with your support plan. As we are making all payments, you will not have to complete any monitoring.
Direct payments remain public funds which must be accounted for. The council have a responsibility to monitor the use of direct payments and will therefore require you to keep a record of how you spend the money to ensure that it is used to meet the agreed outcomes in your support plan.
You will need to keep records and receipts relating to all spending from the direct payments account and will be required to produce these on a monthly basis. The councils direct payments team can also help by showing you how to keep records when you start direct payments.
Even when someone has been using direct payments for a long time they can still get support, advice and guidance they need in managing their direct payments and complying with monitoring requirements.