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Getting started (Pack A)


Direct payments offer a more flexible way of meeting the assessed support needs and outcomes for your child and your family. They give you the power to choose more innovative ways of achieving your agreed outcomes.

The page contains some important information which may help you when deciding how you are going to spend your direct payments. Additional help and advice is available from your local Direct Payments Advisor, so please contact them if you have any questions about spending your money or any other issues about services you may be thinking about or have already chosen to buy.

Your Direct Payments Agreement

On accepting direct payments you will enter into an agreement with the Local Authority to use your direct payments solely for the purpose of achieving the agreed outcomes in your child’s Child In Need plan (CIN plan) and will be responsible for providing an account of how the money received has been spent. Your direct payments may be affected if you don’t stick to this agreement.

How to spend your money and meet agreed outcomes

You should have agreed in principle how you intend to spend your direct payments. We don’t expect you to be able to explain every last penny in advance but you will need to outline how you plan to budget your money.

It is very important that your direct payments expenditure falls in line with the outcomes agreed in your CIN plan. With your social worker, you will draw up and agree a Direct Payment Support Plan that will provide important information and a basis upon which you can measure and review how this is being achieved.

If you have any questions about this, speak to the person who did you assessment and completed your Child In Need plan.

Step 1: Assessment

Your social worker will complete an assessment which will show what needs you or your child have and these needs will then form part of a Child In Need plan (CIN plan). This plan will include information about what services could meet those needs (e.g. a personal assistant/befriender, and this might be provided through direct payments).

Step 2: Disability resource allocation group panel

The Group is made up of senior staff from different services including the Local Authority, Health, Education, and they will decide how much service the child/young person should receive. They may then offer Local Authority services, or if you have applied, direct payments to arrange and purchase your own services.

Step 3: Direct payment support plan

Your social worker will also draw up and agree with you a direct payment support plan which will identify what is important to your children, your family and how you will spend your direct payments to meet the identified needs.

Step 4: Direct payments

If direct payments have been allocated, you will then be provided with support services from the Direct Payment Advisor who is responsible for helping you to do everything you need to do in order to start to receive your direct payments.

The Direct Payment Advisor will pay you an initial visit to talk to you in depth about what you need to do and will provide you with a sample budget plan and talk you through the direct payment process.

Step 5: Identifying a personal assistant

You may have an idea of who you would like to employ as a direct payment worker. If not try asking at your child’s school, among friends or advertise in the local Jobcentre.

Step 6: Safeguarding children and young people

Your personal assistant will be required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check prior to commencing employment with you, unless they already have a current DBs in place. Your Direct Payment Advisor will arrange this for you through the local authority’s Human Resources (People and Culture) department.

Step 7: Opening a bank account

Unless you choose to have a managed account you will need to open a basic bank account to be used solely for the purpose of managing your direct payments. Your Direct Payment Advisor will advise and assist you with this.

Step 8: Being a new employer

The Direct Payment Advisor will provide you with all of the information you need to become a new employer and will support and advise you throughout the process to make it as simple as possible. Having to become an employer can seem daunting at first. You must always be mindful of employment law and not breech it, but there are plenty of additional services that can be arranged to help you with any tax, national insurance, payroll and employment matters that you have to deal with. Your Direct Payment Advisor will help you to chose and arrange these services, including Employers Liability Insurance cover (which the Local Authority will pay for). The Direct Payment Advisor will also help you to complete and agree all relevant employment documentation with your chosen personal assistant.

Step 9: Congratulations! Your personal assistant can start working for you

And all you now need to do is agree a start date and keep a record of the hours worked each week. Provide this information to your chosen payroll provider. At the end of each month, if you choose to manage the account yourself, they will work out what wages you should pay and any national insurance or tax that is due. HM Revenue and Customs require that you keep all of your records for 6 years (old shoe boxes may be handy for this!). From time to time you will be asked to produce your records to the Local Authority for inspection to show how you have spent your payments.

If you have decided that you want to employ someone to assist your child and your family, there are a number of things that you need to think about.

Employment Law

You will need to have a basic understanding of employment law. This will ensure that the relationship between you and the person caring for your child falls within employment regulations, Employment law is constantly changing and can be complicated.

By recruiting someone, you need to make sure that during the course of the employment relationship, from the recruitment process to when the employment ends, you do not breach your employee’s rights. You will need to be aware of these rights and your obligations as an employer. Information on Employment Law is available at GOV.UK  and on the ACAS website.

Employing Someone

You will be responsible for recruiting the carer and for managing them once they start working for you. This means that you take on the responsibilities of being that persons employer.

This is not as simple as assuming that the person you are paying is self-employed and that they are responsible for their own tax declarations. Simply paying someone a cheque or cash for caring for your child may actually break HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) regulations.
There are a number of factors that need to be considered around employing an individual.
This includes:

  • The number of hours they work
  • Whether they have another job
  • How much they earn
  • Where they care for your child

Because every case is likely to be different, we recommend that you take advice from your local tax office and the HMRC helpline on 0845 302 1414. You can also visit the HMRC website.

You will need to contact HMRC via the helpline number above. They will be able to send you a new employer’s starter pack which includes tables to help you calculate tax and national insurance rates and various forms that you will need to set up your employees PAYE scheme.

If your employees earns less that a certain amount HMRC offer a simplified PAYE Deduction Scheme. Information for this can be found on the HMRC website.

However If you do not wish to undertake payroll and PAYE yourself, your Direct Payment Advisor can put you in touch with local service providers who offer basic payroll services. Services are available from the Rowan Organisation Payroll Service and are currently funded by North East Lincolnshire Council.
When employing someone it is a requirement to have liability insurance. This is not always included on the normal household insurance policy. The Directgov website has more information and has advice on employers and public liability insurance. Services are available from the Premier Care Home Employment Insurance and are currently funded by North East Lincolnshire Council.


Once you have a suitable person/s in mind the interview is an opportunity to check out all the things you may be unsure about:

  • Is this person suitably trained or experienced to look after my child?
  • Does this person understand the level of care needed for my child?
  • How will they cope in an emergency?
  • Will my child get on with them?
  • If they are not a UK resident, do they have a permit to work in the UK?
  • Do they have the flexibility required to meet the assessed needs?

Make sure the questions you ask are tailored to suit you and your child’s requirements. You should also think about getting references to verify information about their previous employment, reliability and honesty. By writing to a referee yourself you can ask them certain questions which are specific to them working with you. Always be wary of pre-written ‘to whom it may concern’ references given to you at the time of the interview.

Contract of Employment

Once you have made a decision about who you are going to employ and you have offered them a job, you should ensure that they are provided with a Contract of Employment – this is a legal requirement of all employers. You may want to consider offering the job on a trial basis, allowing you to get to know them before offering the job permanently. You will have to explain this beforehand, making it clear how long the trial period would be for.


You will need to consider what basic training is required. If you child needs specialist care in relation to eating, toileting or move and handling you will need to consider how this will be delivered. Contact your Direct Payment Advisor or your Social Worker for details of how to access available training.

Health and Safety issues are extremely important. We have to be sure that the arrangements you are proposing to make will protect and promote your child’s wellbeing. Your direct payments could be affected if issues relating to safeguarding are not being followed. This also includes issues relating to anyone you have chosen to employ.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

The DBS is part of the Home Office and was set up to help organisations make safer recruitment decisions. It is North East Lincolnshire Council policy that all direct payments workers must be DBS checked prior to commencing employment. If your proposed direct payment worker does not have a current DBS we will arrange and pay for the DBS check to be carried out on prospective carers without taking the cost from your direct payment allocation. DBS application forms can only be obtained from a registered body. As a registered body the local authority can provide a DBS form but in order to do so will need some personal details of the proposed employee. Therefore:

1. The employer must provide to the Direct Payments Advisor the following information regarding their proposed employee:

a. Full name
b. Full address including postcode
c. Date of birth

2. The Direct Payments Advisor will then arrange for the local authority to post a DBS application form directly to the proposed employee.

3. The proposed employee must complete all relevant sections of the DBS application form carefully following the instructions both on the form and in the accompanying leaflet. The form must then be taken to:

Municipal Offices
Town Hall Square
North East Lincolnshire
DN31 1HU Between 9m to 5pm
Tuesday to Friday
This service is not available on Mondays.

It is important that the 3 stages above are completed as quickly as possible to avoid any unnecessary delay in processing times and therefore delay in getting started on the direct payments scheme.

You can find lots of useful information on the internet about direct payments. Information will vary from source to source, some being specific to particular agencies or local authorities.

Department of Health

The Department of Health have produced a detailed guide on direct parents which is available on the publications section of their website.


ACAS are an organisation which provides information on employment law, employment disputes, grievances and dismissals.


The Government website has a wealth of information relating to employment, tax, health, disabilities and related services and benefits.

Council for Disabled Children

This is the ‘umbrella’ body for the disabled children’s sector in England.

Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. Telephone: 0300 061 6161


Ofsted regulate providers of childcare, education and training in England. Telephone: 0845 640 4040

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

Offers information on good practice in employment. Telephone: 0845 604 6610

HM Revenue and Customs

For all of the important information about TAX, National Insurance, PAYE, becoming an employer and to download guidance and forms.

National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL)

NCIL is a ‘not for profit’ organisation that is run and controlled by disabled people. Their primary aim is to promote independent living. This means disabled people having control and choice over their own lives. To do this NCIL give support and information around direct payments and individual budgets. They try to make sure that disabled people can get accessible information in these subjects and provide newsletters, books, leaflets and video’s/DVD’s. They also have an employers kit which helps employers and prospective employers with issues around employing staff on a direct payment or individual budget.

Key worker service

North East Lincolnshire Council
Civic Offices
Knoll Street
North East Lincolnshire
DN38 8LN
Telephone: 01472 325607


Face2Face offers a one to one befriending service for parents discovering their child is disabled.


Scope is a charity that supports disabled people and their families.

Telephone:  0808 800 3333 [email protected]

Carers’ support service

Carers’ Support Service
The Old Waterworks Offices
1 Town Hall Square
DN31 1HY

Telephone: 01472 242277
[email protected]

Contact details

Direct Payments, Civic Offices, Knoll Street, Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35 8LN

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01472 326292 option 3, option 1

Opening times: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, except bank holidays