Adult Social Care Budget Services

Personal Budget

Personal Budgets are an allocation of funding given to users after an assessment which should be sufficient to meet their assessed needs. Users can either take their personal budget as a direct payment, or – while still choosing how their care needs are met and by whom – leave councils with the responsibility to commission the services. Or they can take have some combination of the two.​​​

Personal Budgets can be used for things such as:

  • getting the support you need at home (eg help with personal care)
  • getting involved in community activities
  • keeping healthy and safe (eg equipment that will help you stay independent)

Personal Budgets can not be used for things such as:

  • Anything that is not directly related to meeting your eligible social care needs
  • for things which the local council has prohibited. These vary, but generally include gambling, debt repayment, alcohol and tobacco, anything which is illegal, and anything which will cause harm to yourself or other people
  • to meet needs in ways which are solely the responsibility of the NHS, such as the provision of medication.

If you think you may be eligible you should contact us and we will carry out a Community Care Assessment and if your needs are urgent they will organise immediate care and support.

Direct payments

Social Services Direct payments are normally available if you are:

  • disabled and aged 16 or over
  • a parent or carer aged 16 or over (including people with parental responsibility for a disabled child)
  • an older person

For more information and advice have a look at the Direct Payment Fact Sheet, Direct Payments Price List and the Direct Payment Audit Leaflet.  Alternatively contact Halton Borough Councils Direct Payments Team ​on 0151 511 7575.

PrePaid Cards​

A prepaid card account is just like a current account from your bank with a debit card. Halton Borough Council pays your Personal Budget onto the card so that you can use it to pay for services agreed in your Care Support Plan.

Personal Assistants

People can now choose to arrange their own social care services with a direct payment from the Council and many are choosing to employ their own personal assistant. Tasks performed as part of the personal assistant role are; personal care, washing and bathing, getting dressed, leisure activities, cooking and preparing food, cleaning and housework, driving, getting around, shopping, getting into and out of bed and chairs, using the toilet, assisting with medical visits. A personal assistant does not take over control from the service user but provides the right assistance. You do not necessarily need to have experience of social care to become a personal assistant however, training is arranged if required.

If you are interested in using a Personal Assistant you can contact Halton Disability Partnership who help people looking for Personal Assistants, provide support with employment of PA’s and payroll.

Skills for Care offer a really useful ​Care Certificate PA Induction Workbook if you are interested in employing a PA, the website gives people access to a range of information that they would need to be aware of in relation to employing their own PA’s.

DBS Checks For Personal Assistants

HBC can carry out Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for personal assistants at the request of our clients. A DBS check will show whether a PA has a criminal record or not. It is highly recommended that if you employ your own Personal Assistants, that a DBS Check is undertaken. This service is free for direct payment recipients.

Self Employed Personal Assistants

It is your responsibility to correctly determine the employment status of your workers – that is, whether they are employed by you or self-employed.

This is important because it affects the way tax and NIC are calculated for them. If you do not get this right you may have to pay tax, NIC, interest and possible penalties.

To determine the status of a worker you should contact HMRC or telephone 03000 527 450.

If you receive confirmation that your worker is self-employed we require the following information as part of the audit and monitoring of your direct payments account:

  • Individual invoices for all periods worked / payments made from Direct Payments account
  • Name and address of worker
  • National Insurance number
  • Evidence of their Public Liability insurance
  • Copy of up to date enhanced DBS where applicable
  • Individual Tax Reference number (for this employment)

Example of how a self-employed person may work:

  • They will run a business as a self-employed person
  • They will do their own tax and NI Deductions and send an invoice for you to pay
  • They will not be paid sick pay or holidays by the people who they work for
  • They will choose the way they want to work and you purchase their services
  • They will have their own business insurance
  • Should provide references for you to see
  • They should provide major pieces of equipment needed to do their job.
  • Will invoice you for the work they have carried out, ideally four weekly or monthly.
  • They will usually dictate their terms and conditions of services and provide a service contract for you to sign.

If your Personal Assistant is self-employed they will not receive the same terms and conditions that an employed member of staff would have i.e. holiday pay and sick pay. They would only invoice you for the actual hours .

Contracting with an Agency Provider

People using Direct Payments may wish to use an independent agency, you or the person you're looking after has to find the care agency and pay them.  The agency will provide a service through a trained team of care workers, which means you may not always have the same person visiting your home, although the agency will do its best to take your choices into account.  If the agency is providing Personal Care, then the homecare providers are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Homecare agencies must meet CQC’s national minimum standards and regulations in areas such as training and record-keeping. The CQC has the power to inspect agencies and enforce standards.  

Further information and advice on choosing an Agency Provider is available in our Agency Provider List​

Becoming an Employer

People using Direct Payments may wish to employ their own personal assistants rather than contracting with an Agency.  Further information and advice on your responsibilities is available in our guide.

Information is also available from https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Employing-your-own-care-and-support/Information-hub.aspx

Funding for employer and or PA training

If you employ your own care and support staff, you can apply to Skills for Care to get money for training for you and your personal assistant. The money that is available is called individual employer funding.  You can also receive support to complete the funding application forms from Halton Disability Partnership.

Self Directed Support for you

Self-Directed Support is a way for people who are eligible for funding adult social care to get the support they need. Following a Social Care Assessment the service user will be given a Personal Budget to meet their eligible needs.

A Supported Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ)is completed by the individual and a relevant practitioner, in order to identify what the individual’s needs are, this is done by asking the individual about different aspects of their lives including their social activities, physical and mental wellbeing and practical aspects of daily living. The results of the Supported Assessment Questionnaire are then used to calculate a budget, which is usually the maximum amount of funding that can be made available to meet the needs of the individual.

Further information can be found on The Definition of Self-Directed Support Leaflet or phone 0151 907 8306 (Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm)

Virtual Budget

A Virtual Budget is where the Council manages the money on your behalf. This means that, with your agreement, we will arrange services for you based on your budget. With a virtual budget you do not have any responsibility for paying for the services you receive. You do not have to manage a bank account, keep invoices or receipts.

You will have the opportunity to create a support plan with your Healthcare Manager or Support Broker to identify how your money can best be spent to meet your health needs. You will not be able to employ anyone directly to provide you with care and support.

Further information, please call us on 0303 333 4300 (Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm)

Self-funders

You may be called a self-funder if you are meeting the costs of your support without any help from the Council. This can include support to live independently at home or in a care home.  

If you have more than the maximum amount in savings or your income covers the cost of your care then a contribution will not be able to put toward the cost of your support.  This is called self-funding.  Some people choose to be self-funders because they do not want to be financially assessed or they choose to make their own arrangements for support. 

Self funders who wish to employ their own Personal Assistants can still receive support from Halton’s Direct Payments Team on areas such as Recruiting a Personal Assistant, Payroll, Insurance, Health & Safety or from User Led Organisation Halton Disability Partnership who help people looking for Personal Assistants, provide support with employment of PA’s and payroll.

Further information is available on the Care Act Factsheets

Payroll Service

Clients who choose to employ their own Personal Assistants have access to a Payroll Service to assist them with their Employer Responsibilities in paying their Personal Assistants and to take away the worry of calculating their tax and national insurance for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).  Since April 2013 Real-Time Information (RTI) submissions are now a mandatory requirement for all employers no matter how small.  If you employ anyone, their wage information must be electronically submitted to HMRC each pay period.  Returns submitted late, incorrectly or not at all can incur penalties from HMRC.  By using a payroll service, this will ensure that all information required by HMRC is submitted correctly and on time so you will not have to worry about keeping up to date with the latest legislation or meeting constant deadlines.

The Payroll Providers role would be:

  • to provide information to the Inland Revenue
  • send payslips to the Direct Payment Employer so he/she can pay their personal assistant's wages
  • liaise with the Inland Revenue and the finance department of the council (which pays the Direct Payments)
  • completes the forms needed to send to the Inland Revenue at the end of each year.

The Direct Payment Employers role would be:

  • make sure Personal Assistants hours are correct
  • inform the payroll provider if a Personal Assistant leaves/starts/takes holidays/is off sick
  • pay all invoices promptly (from the Direct Payment for HMRC payments/payroll charges/wages to Personal Assistants).

If you decided to manage the payroll yourself, you would need a Payroll Software package such as Sage, in order to meet HMRC regulations and to comply with legislation as above.  Further information is available from the Direct Payments Team.

Free flu vaccine for personal assistants

All frontline health and social care workers should get the winter flu vaccination – including all Personal Assistants (PAs). For the first time, this year, PAs will be able to access the vaccine free of charge from GPs and community pharmacies, via the NHS Complementary Scheme. This vaccination is available now. (Local availability may vary). 

Full, bespoke guidance for PAs and direct payment holders has been developed and will be published shortly. However, given the complexities in communicating this message to this sector, we are taking the step of issuing a summary of that guidance, along with the proof of entitlement, so that PAs can begin to access the flu vaccination now.

To access the scheme, PAs will simply need to attend a GP surgery or community pharmacy and identify themselves as a PA. However, we are aware that individuals have been asked to provide proof in the past and we have therefore provided a letter that can be used for identification, as attached. The process for PAs to access the flu vaccination, is as follows:

  1. Attached to this summary, there is a letter that can be printed.
  2. The direct payment holder, as employer, will fill out this letter, to prove they employ the PA. Once the PA has this, this will act as their ‘letter of entitlement’ to the vaccination.
  3. They will then need to visit their local GP or community pharmacist, who will be able to give them the flu vaccination. If they need to prove their entitlement, they can use the letter of entitlement and a copy of this guidance (when published).
  4. The vaccination will then be given to them, free of charge.

How to request and use PPE

We receive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stock each week and allocate it according to public health guidance and the level of need.

Please use your existing suppliers and only contact us when you have exhausted all other options.

Who can request PPE?

You can request PPE from us if you:

receive a Direct Payment or a Personal Health Budget via a Direct Payment

How to request PPE

People who receive direct payments can contact Halton Direct Payments Team on 0151 511 7575 to discuss the PPE required.

How to use PPE

Government guidance should inform your practice and policy.

Further advice and help

The following guidance is published on GOV.UK.