Receiving your personal budget as a direct payment

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1 Receiving your personal budget as a direct payment This information sheet outlines in more detail the things you need to consider and the steps you need to take to receive your personal budget as a direct payment

2 Receiving your personal budget as a direct payment means that you want to manage all or some of the money yourself. This option gives you the most control over your personal budget and gives you more choice over the support you get. However, there are responsibilities that come with it. This information sheet outlines in more detail the things you need to consider and the steps you ll need to take to receive your personal budget as a direct payment. Here you will find out about: Entering into a personal budget agreement with the Council Opening a separate bank or building society cheque account for the personal budget Keeping records of all payments you have received and made Your responsibilities of being an employer A step-by-step guide to recruiting and employing staff Health and safety responsibilities Organising and managing your staff s day-to-day tasks People and organisations that can give you advice and support throughout Other frequently asked questions Contents Part one First steps 4 Part two A guide to recruiting the right personal assistant 6 Part three A guide to completing the contract of employment and being a successful employer Part four Health and safety and other FAQs 15 9 If you need this information in a different language or format, or need to ask any questions about any part of this pack, call the Hackney Direct Payment Support Service on between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Staff will be happy to talk to you. 2 3

3 Part one First steps As you re interested in taking your personal budget as a direct payment, your social worker will refer you to the Direct Payments Team and you ll be allocated a Direct Payments Officer (DPO). Your DPO will contact you within 48 hours to arrange a visit to discuss the direct payment policy and procedure and how to use the direct payment. Your DPO will also ask you to sign the Direct Payment Contract and other paper work at this meeting You can contact the Direct Payment Support Service on , Monday Friday, 9am - 5pm. Opening a separate bank or building society cheque account for the personal budget You will need to open an account into which we will pay your personal budget. This makes it easy for you to manage your money and make sure you are spending it correctly, in accordance with your support plan. The account needs to be a cheque account. This means it has to have a cheque book with it as this is the way we ask you to pay your personal assistant and make transactions. You cannot withdraw cash from the account as this makes monitoring your transactions more difficult. Before you can get your personal budget you must give us your new account details. Entering into a personal budget agreement with the Council You (or your representative) will need to sign the direct payment agreement. This sets out the responsibilities and obligations of the Council and yourself, and the date your personal budget will start. Your DPO will go through the agreement with you and will sign this as well. Sign and return the agreement. You could choose to get independent legal advice before signing the agreement. Visit Hackney icare, or speak to your social worker for more information. You could also approach: - A solicitor - A trade union - Law centres - The Citizens Advice Bureau Keeping records of all payments you have received and made Once you have opened your account you will need to keep your monthly statements. They will need to show all the money that has been paid into or that has left the account. You will also need to keep copies of all invoices (if you are commissioning services from an agency), timesheets and details of tax and National Insurance contributions if you are employing someone directly, (this is explained in more detail below) and send them to the Direct Payments Team every three months. When you have opened a cheque account, contact your DPO ahead of your second meeting, who will put your account details into your agreement and complete the relevant paperwork face to face. You will be reminded when to send in your statement, invoices, timesheets and details of tax and National Insurance contributions. You will usually receive payments into your account every four weeks in arrears. It is likely that you will receive a one off start up payment to cover likely costs related to Employer s Insurance, payroll costs, recruiting and employing a personal assistant. You will find out more about this later in the pack. You can also always ask your DPO for more information. You will usually receive your first payment 4-6 weeks after your referral to the Direct Payments Team. 4 5

4 Part two A guide to recruiting the right personal assistant Recruiting and employing a personal assistant may seem like a complicated and difficult process, but it doesn t have to be. The aim is that you have someone to support you who is right for you, and to make sure you are in full control. In this section you ll find out all you need to know about getting the right personal assistant. Your DPO will help you through the process step-by-step, and you can treat this form as a checklist to make sure you ve done everything you need to. Which option is right for you? There are three ways you could employ someone: 1. By using an agency. If there is an agency you want to use, or wish to continue with an agency you already use, simply let us know. If you need advice or details of agencies that are available visit Hackney icare, call us or speak to your social worker or the Direct Payments Support Service. Remember to always ask agencies what their rates are. The agency will take care of the recruitment and employer responsibilities for you. They will invoice you directly for payment, usually on a weekly or monthly basis. You could pay using a cheque, by setting up a standing order, or by direct transfer from your personal budget bank account The agency rate cannot be higher than the maximum rate of your direct payment. For 2015 this is 11.30per hour. 3. By employing a personal assistant though the recruitment process. This takes more time but will make sure you get the right person to support you. Below is a list of things you may need to do. Remember the Direct Payment Support Team, your DPO, friends, family or carer, can help you though this process. Speak to them throughout. Write a job description Look at your support plan and think about the personal assistant you want. Include: What qualities your personal assistant should have What work they will need to do How many hours a week they ll need to work How much they will be paid per hour How they can contact you Your DPO and your own research will show you how much you need to pay per hour. You could speak to other people who have a personal budget or local agencies. Your hourly rate must meet the national minimum wage. You can find this out by visiting or calling Remember your hourly rate cannot exceed the maximum rate of the direct payment, currently per hour. Your DPO can provide you with a sample job description. 2. By employing a personal assistant you know. You can employ a personal assistant rather than using an agency. If you know the right personal assistant you don t have to go through the recruitment process. If you know the person you want to employ, move on to part three. Advertise the job Once you know who you want and what you want to pay, you need to find them. Your job advert should show the same points, above, from the job description and also the closing date request for the applicant s Curriculum Vitae (CV), and references. But you could make it shorter and snappier. You could advertise in: The post office The Job Centre Local shops Local colleges Newspapers 6 7

5 Remember to include the closing date for applications in your job advert and to ask that applicants submit their Curriculum Vitae (CV). A reference is information from a different person the referee who can tell you why the person applying is good for the job. It is very important you make sure you follow these up and get references if you are interested in an applicant. There could be costs associated with advertising in some places. Your DPO can help you advertise we normally do this through the Job Centre which is free. Interview people you think are right After the closing date you should check your applicants CVs to see if any stand out as being right for the job. Contact these people and arrange a time and a place for an interview. Your DPO, a friend or family member can be a part of the interview if you want. Make sure you: Prepare the questions you want to ask in advance. These should relate to the job description. Your DPO can provide you with sample questions Give the people you interview the chance to talk Tell people you will let them know the outcome later don t agree to anyone then and there If you don t have any applications, none stand out, or after interview no one is right, speak to your DPO. It may be that an agency is right for you, or you need to carry out the recruitment again. Part three A guide to completing the contract of employment and being a successful employer By now you will have either approached someone you know to be your personal assistant and they have informally agreed, or following an interview you have let a personal assistant know they have been successful. This final section will outline the steps you need to take to employ that person. By the end of this process you will have completed the contract of employment. This has to be completed with the first two months as it is a legal agreement between you and your personal assistant that sets out in writing: The terms and conditions of the job The pay The working hours Any other agreements required to meet the aims of the job description Before someone starts work, you both need to sign the contract. Your DPO will prepare this for you. If you need support or advice about any employer steps below contact the Direct Payment Support Team on , or call the Employers Helpline on Your DPO will give you the contract of employment template and will help make sure it is filled in correctly. Step 1: Calculate wages and arrange payroll By now you should know the amount your personal budget will be. You should use this to calculate how much the hourly rate for your employee will be this is very important to avoid you getting into debt later on. You may already be aware that when employing someone there are more costs than wages to consider. You will also have responsibility for paying employers National Insurance contributions, holiday, sick pay, and employers public liability insurance (these are discussed in detail later in the pack). These are often called on costs or overheads. 8 9

6 We recommend paying your employees at London Living Wage which is currently 9.15 per hour. The reminder of the direct payment money forms your contingency which covers holiday pay, sick pay, HMRC contributions,employer Liability Insurance and payroll cost. The amount you will pay will be the net payment. This amount will be given to you, along with the tax and NI contributions, on the payslip you get from your payroll agency. You can manage this yourself, but we recommend that you use a payroll agency. The start up payment mentioned earlier in this pack will cover initial costs for the payroll agency. A payroll agency will: Advise you how much you can afford to pay your worker Calculate tax and National Insurance contributions Calculate your employee s gross and net pay Have contact with the Inland Revenue on your behalf Provider your worker with a payslip Register you as an employer with Her Majesty s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) You have to keep a timesheet that records the hours our personal assistant works each week provided by your payroll agency. You should keep a copy of this as you ll need to send them to the Council along with bank account statements, any invoices and any details of tax and National Insurance (NI) contributions. Your payroll agency should provide details of tax and NI to you. Your DPO will give you details of payroll agencies which we recommend you could use. Step 2: Agree payment details You will already have agreed the hourly rate with your personal assistant, having taken into account the additional on costs or overheads that you need to pay. It is up to you how often you pay them, but we recommend per calendar month. You must pay your personal assistant by cheque, standing order or BACS payment for the exact amount, based on the payslip received from your payroll provider with the money coming from your personal budget account. This will help you to keep a record of your payments and transactions. Step 3: Get a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly DBS check) The police can carry out a DBS check on your personal assistant. This can help identify if that person is suitable to work with you. You don t have to get a DBS check, however we highly recommend one is completed for your employee. Your DPO will advise you on what needs to be completed to get a DBS check completed for your employee. The cost for the DBS check is already covered in the direct payment amount you will receive. Step 4: Take out employers public liability insurance You will need to take out insurance to protect you and your personal assistant. The insurance policy will provide financial protection for you as an employer against problems arising from the legal responsibilities of employment. It will cover things like accident and injury. The cost of employers public liability insurance needs to be included in your personal budget, as part of the on-costs or overheads discussed earlier in this pack. Hackney Council recommends the following insurance companies: Fish Insurance ( , Premier Insurance ( , Direct Care Insurance ( , Your DPO will discuss this with you and will collect the insurance forms of your chosen company. The DPO will finalise this for you to make sure you are covered. Step 5: Have a contingency plan If you are employing a personal assistant we need to know what would happen if they were off work for any reason, and whether you know someone else who could replace them at short notice. We call this a contingency plan and it should include: Your name, address and contact details The name, address and contact details of two people we can contact if there is an emergency The relationship these people have with you for example family, friend, neighbour, or agency 10 11

7 Details of anyone who has keys to your property Whether you have Telecare or another form of monitoring device Whether you have a key safe Complete the contingency plan template which will be given to you by your DPO. Step 6: Complete the contract of employment You are now in a position to complete the contract of employment. Along with the details above it should also include: The expected place of work Job title and a description of the duties The date the employment began How much they get paid How often they get paid The hours they are expected to work per week If the job is permanent, temporary to cover sick or maternity leave, or fixed term for a fixed period of time Holidays and holiday pay arrangements Sick pay arrangements Maternity or paternity pay Disciplinary, grievance and redundancy procedures Notice of termination Holidays and holiday pay arrangements All employees are entitled to four weeks holiday pay every year if they work five days a week. If it is less than this holiday pay is worked out as a proportion of the full-time entitlement. Whist on holiday they will receive their full wage. It is up to you when your personal assistant takes their holidays and they should let you know in advance. You may need someone to cover them and you can arrange this through an agency. Sick pay arrangements For the first three consecutive working days of sickness there is no legal requirement to pay sick leave. On the fourth and consecutive days, statutory sick pay comes into effect. This is currently paid at a weekly rate of 88.45, or proportion of this depending on the number of days worked in the week. This is the minimum paid and you can top it up to the full wage if you wish. If you use a payroll company, inform them. Maternity or paternity pay Your employee may be entitled to statutory maternity pay or ordinary paternity pay and leave. Statutory maternity pay can be paid for up to 39 weeks. Your employee will be entitled to pay if: She has been employed by you continuously for over 26 weeks at the time of the 15th week before the baby is due You have been paying National Insurance as part of her employment Statutory maternity pay is calculated for the first six weeks at 90 per cent of average gross weekly earnings, and for the remaining 33 weeks at the standard rate of , or continuing at 90 per cent gross weekly earning if it is lower than this. Your employee will be entitled to ordinary paternity leave if: He has been employed by you continuously for over 26 weeks at the time of the 15th week before the baby is due, or at the end of the week he is notified he is matched with his child He is the biological father of the child; the mother s husband or partner (including same-sex relationships); the child s adopter; husband or partner (including same sex relationships) of the child s adopter Ordinary statutory paternity pay is paid for up to two consecutive weeks, depending on how long your employee chooses to take paternity leave for. The current weekly rate is , or 90 per cent of their current weekly earnings if less than that. For more information visit HMRC employees Enquiry Line or speak to your DPO 12 13

8 Disciplinary, grievance and redundancy procedures Sometimes you may have to let your personal assistant know you are not happy with their behaviour or their work. This can be sorted out by a chat at first, but if it continues or gets serious you may need to let them know formally, or even stop them working for you. It may also be the case that your personal assistant is not happy with you or the job. In both cases a fair procedure will need to be followed. If you have employed someone for more than two years they are entitled to statutory redundancy pay. The amount they are entitled to will be based on their weekly pay, age and continuous employment with you. Part four Health and safety and other FAQs Health and safety When you employ people you must be aware of two things: It is your responsibility to provide a healthy and safe place to work, and to not do anything, or ask your employee to do anything, that may put them at risk It is your employee s responsibility not to do anything that may put you at risk. They should notify you of anything that could be dangerous to you or them If you have a discrepancy, grievance or complaint, or need to make someone redundant you should speak to your DPO in the first instance. The DPO can arrange mediation sessions that may help to sort out any issues. Your payroll agency will be able to help you calculate how much redundancy pay and notice period pay your employee is entitled to. You could also contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) can offer advice and has a useful free booklet about dealing with disputes. You can also contact the Employers Helpline on You can also call a national helpline for advice about redundancy on Notice of termination If your personal assistant can t work for you anymore, they will give you their notice of termination. They will have to work a period of notice that varies in length depending on how long they have worked for you. If they have been working for you: Between one month and two years, they have to tell you one week before they leave For more than two years, they have to give you a week for every year they have worked for you. The longest time they can give is 12 weeks You can now complete the contract of employment template. Your DPO can help you with this and your personal assistant will need to sign this with you. Health and safety laws do apply to you and it is your responsibility to make sure you provide a healthy and safe work place. For more information visit the Health and Safety Executive: or call their helpline: Other frequently asked questions Do I have to manage all the money myself? No. You could choose to have a mixed package. This is where the Council provides some services for you, making you responsible only for part of your budget. Your support plan, services you have chosen, and outcomes you wish to achieve, should help you make this decision. For example, you may decide that you don t want too much responsibility and are happy with Council provided care services on the whole. But you d like to manage a small sum yourself to allow you to join a social group, or take part in an activity not provided through the Council. If this approach sounds better for you, talk it through with your social worker. How often will I receive money? Usually every four weeks, following a start up payment at the beginning. Will I get to keep the money if I don t spend it? No. The money should be spent in accordance with your support plan. What if the money is being misspent? The Council will be able to take the money from you. The council may stop your direct payments and put an alternative care arrangement in place if the direct payments are being misspent

9 How often will I need to send in details of transactions? Usually this should take place quarterly. Your DPO will let you know if you need to do this more or less frequently. Will my existing benefits be affected? No. Benefits are not affected. Your personal budget is to pay for care and support. It is not personal income and should note be declared for tax or benefit purposes as income. What happens if I need to change my cheque account, personal assistant, hourly rate, or other personal details? Contact your DPO or the Direct Payment Support Service on who will provide you with the right form to complete and return. Can I employ one of my relatives to be my personal assistant? You can unless that person lives with you. You cannot employ anyone who lives with you to be your personal assistant unless there are exceptional circumstances and the Council agrees to that person providing your care. Further information Call or Produced by Hackney Design, Communications & Print October 2015 PJ61022

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