Briefing by Luke Clements ~ updated December 2019. For corrections or suggested additions please contact email@example.com
The 2014 Act specifies how an entitlement to a social services funded direct payment arises, how the amount of a direct payment is to be calculated and how the payment is to be administered. The detail of the scheme is spelled out in regulations – The Care and Support (Direct Payments) (Wales) Regulations 2015. Section 53(9) of the Act makes a material change to the previous law – in that it enables direct payments to be used to purchase care and support from (among others) ‘the authority which made the payment’. Guidance on the scheme is provided in the Part 4 Code of Practice (Meeting Needs) – although, disappointingly this is less detailed than the guidance under the previous legislative regime.
The Act extends direct payments to cover residential care costs. There is little explanation as to how this will work in practice. In fact it is only acknowledged in the Part 11 Code of Practice (Miscellaneous and General) which makes it clear, when discussing the ordinary residence deeming rule (page 31), that this is the case (namely by stating that the rule ‘also applies where a person takes a direct payment and arranges their own care and support’). The potential problems that will arise by permitting direct payments to be used for long periods of residential care, would appear to outweigh any benefits. The complexity of the resulting scheme has caused the English Government to postpone such payments until 2020: the Welsh Government appears to have no such concern.
Direct Payments and s117 Mental Health Act 1983
The 2014 Act s53(11) and Sch A1 provide for the making of direct payments to people who are eligible for support under s117. The Care and Support (Direct Payments) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 1815) reg 15 states that there is a duty to make such payments – subject to certain conditions being satisfied.
Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG).
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) was closed in June 2015 and the funding devolved to English local authorities and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments.The WILG was set up in 2015 following a consultation exercise and gave the Welsh Government a period of moratorium to decide on how to proceed.
In November 2016, it was announced that the WILG would close in March 2019 and that all recipients would be assessed by their Local Authority for care and support under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act (SSWBA) 2014 by March 2018.The #SaveWILG campaign spearheaded by Nathan Davies was successful in getting the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services to announce a policy reversal in respect of the WILG. She announced an ‘immediate pause’ to the winding down of the WILG to allow for revised arrangements – see http://www.lukeclements.co.uk/welsh-independent-living-grant-wilg-policy-reversal/
The revised arrangements offer an assessment to previous recipients of the WILG by an independent social worker. The outcome of the assessments and its implications for the future provision of social care for WILG recipients remains unclear.
NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) and direct payments
This topic is considered under the heading ‘Continuing NHS Healthcare and adults – to access this section click here.