Purchasing services directly from an agency means that you do not directly employ the people who provide your care and you do not have responsibilities as an employer. Instead you have a contract with the agency.
The Direct Payment can only pay for care hours. Any mileage charged by the Agency must be paid from your own personal monies.
There are many agencies that provide specialist care within the Sefton area; your Direct Payments Advisor will provide you with a current list. We advise you to contact more than one agency before you make a decision.
In England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the Health and Social Care regulator and has an online directory of registered independence care services. The Agency that you chose to contract your Direct Payment care support with must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
To check the directory click http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/services-your-home
When you make contact with the agencies we advise you to ask the following questions
- What services they provide i.e. personal care, shopping
- What is the rate that will be charged for assessed hours
- Is the rate inclusive of VAT, travelling expenses and any other additional costs
- Do they charge a higher rate for weekends, evenings or bank holidays
- Can I expect to see the same person on a regular basis
- Do they have availability for the calls you need
- Do they have employers liability insurance
With Direct Payments you can have a mixed package of care using an agency and employing your own personal assistants, or in turn you could use an agency to cover when your employee is on holiday or sickness absence.
If the agency you chose charges a higher rate than the standard Direct Payments rate, then any shortfall in your Direct Payments account must be paid from your own personal monies. This is referred to as a ‘top up’.