Buying services from an agency/day centre

Direct Payments can be spent on care support that has been identified and agreed within your Care Support Plan. You can make arrangements to employ someone directly or go to an agency of your choice.

You can have a mix of Direct Payments and services arranged or provided by Social Care.

When using a Direct Payment it is your responsibility to make all appropriate arrangements to meet your identified care support needs.


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’.

There are a variety of Council, Voluntary and private Day Centres across Sefton, offering people the opportunity to:

  • Meet with others
  • Participate in a range of social and leisure activities
  • Receive personal care
  • Give carers a break from caring responsibilities

Some day centres offer training or work projects for people with disabilities. Others help those recovering from illness, such as a stroke.

If you have been assessed as needing day centre services then you can elect to have the money for the day centre paid as a Direct Payment.

The Local Authority will be able to provide you with a list of specialist day centres which you can contact and arrange to visit. It will be your responsibility to book your preferred days and pay the day centre directly.

For information on local day centres click here


Last Updated on 12 October 2016

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