Direct Payments and Personal Budgets

Traditionally, local authorities provided social care support by directly commissioning care services for people with needs. This meant that the person receiving the service had no choice over how that service was delivered or by whom. Since 1996 there has been a concerted move towards personalisation – giving choice to the user of services about how services are provided and by whom.  

Under personalisation, local authorities undertake an assessment of the needs of a person and following that, calculate the cost of buying services to meet those needs. The resulting figure is then paid to the person in the form of a direct payment or personal budget. The person can then buy care services from a range of local providers in the way that best suits them.  

Our experts can help if disputes arise such as: 

  • A refusal by a local authority (or from 2014, the NHS) to provide a direct payment
  • A failure by a local authority to be transparent about how they have assessed the level of direct payment by reference to an assessment of needs
  • A reduction in the amount of any direct payment without a reassessment of need

In these difficult economic times, public finances are stretched and we are repeatedly told there is not enough money to go around. However, the law is clear that if you have eligible needs these must be met and it is not open to local authorities or the NHS to fail to meet those needs on the basis that their financial resources are limited

Contact one of our experts to find out more about how we can help you.

For further information please get in touch with our dedicated team.

You can always call us on 0845 894 1622 or email on


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