Direct payment process

A direct payment broker will complete an initial review, after which we will make an agreement for your services to be funded via a direct payment.

Responsibilities of the Direct Payment Audit Team

Details of your direct payment will be given to the Direct Payment Audit Team. They have the following responsibilities:

  • Confirming you are active within Trafford Council’s payment system
  • Ordering and setting up of a Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) pre-payment card account (if required)
  • Ensuring payments are made every four weeks, in accordance with the funding plan
  • Ensuring any one-off payments are made upon request
  • Auditing your direct payment account on a 3, 6 or 12 monthly basis (to check the funding is being used in line with your care plan)

Direct payment account type

Your direct payment funding is paid into a dedicated bank account. There are several types of account:

Self-managed account with a high street bank

The bank account must be separate from your personal monies and be for the sole use of the direct payment.

A prepayment card account

This is with the prepayment card provider used by Trafford Council, Prepaid Financial Services (PFS). The Direct Payment Audit Team have online access to these accounts.

Accountant managed

An accountant holds the funding on the client’s behalf. However, the actual management of the account is retained by you or a ‘suitable person’ (see below).

Fully managed account

This is usually used where a client lacks capacity to manage the funding or the management of their care.

When the direct payment is being set up with the broker, the options regarding the account type will be discussed.

Prepayment card account

If you choose a prepayment card, we will give you help on how to operate the account online.

If possible, it is best to operate the account via a laptop or tablet/iPad; you may not be able access all areas of the account using a mobile phone.

There is also a dedicated telephone line with the card provider. Arrangements can be made for invoices to be paid on your behalf.

Suitable person

The majority of direct payment recipients will nominate someone to act as ‘suitable person’ on their account. The suitable person manages the account on your behalf. This person may already act as your financial appointee, for example, but it does not have to be the same person. Often, the suitable person is a family member or close friend.

It is important to note that your suitable person is responsible for the management of your direct payment account. This includes providing audit information, paying invoices, organising care provision, and so on.

Direct payment funding payments

Pay calculation

Once the agreement to receive a direct payment has been made, we will give you a pay calculation.

This calculation shows the ‘Gross’ total weekly amount of funding required to cover your assessed need. Trafford Council pays the ‘Net’ figure, which is minus any client contribution to be paid (see ‘Client contributions’ below).

The pay calculation will break down the cost of each service, number of hours, and hourly rate. It also includes any additional costs required when employing a personal assistant.

Funding can be used flexibly in line with the assessed need, but should be kept to this weekly amount. 

Top-up payments

Some care providers charge above the Trafford Council funding rates. If this happens, a top-up will be needed to cover the additional amount of funding.

This payment should be made from your (the client’s) personal funds and be paid directly into the direct payment account. It is separate from any client contribution payments, so they are easily identifiable for the Audit Team.

Use of funding

Funding should be kept within the weekly budget and be related to your care needs.

If there are any changes required to the care, such as a deterioration of your health, a review of the case should be requested via the Social Work Team. This is also the same for any care/expenditure that is not included within the care need and care plan.

Any funds used that have not been approved by the funding team may be classed as ‘misspent funds’. We will request these be repaid.

4-weekly payment cycle

Payments from us for direct payment funding is made on a 4 weekly cycle. It is also paid in advance, i.e. payments made at the beginning of the period cover the next 4 weeks.

When payments begin we may make an interim payment. This interim payment will be made from the start of the direct payment funding up to the end of the 4 week period in which the payment commenced.

Payments will then be made in line with the normal payment cycle. We will give you a copy of the audit calendar to help with payment dates and the periods covered.

When the direct payment funding is ended, due to the payments being made in advance, there will be a reclaim of funds. This is from the end date of the direct payment to the end of the period the payments have been made up to. We will give you notification of the reclaim following the final audit of the account.

Client contributions

As part of our provision of care, we are required to make a financial assessment. This determines the weekly amount the client can afford to pay towards the services provided. This financial assessment is referred to as a ‘client contribution’.

Direct payment funding is paid ‘Net’ of the client contribution. Therefore, the contribution has to be paid into the same direct payment account as the payments you receive from us. This will ensure sufficient funds are available to cover the weekly cost of your care plan. 

We suggest that standing order payments be set up to pay the weekly assessed client contribution amount from the client’s personal bank account. You can also pay the client contribution every four weeks, in line with the direct payment 4 weekly payment. A copy of the audit calendar will be provided to assist with this set up.

We advise you have access to either online banking or telephone banking with the bank with whom you hold your personal account. This helps ensure required amendments to any such standing order payments can be made easily and quickly. These regular client contribution charges may change.

At the start of each financial year, in line with DWP benefit changes (if applicable), or when there are any changes to your personal income or personal financial circumstances, a letter will be sent to you (or your financial appointee if applicable) from our Financial Assessment Team advising of any such changes to this charge.

Calculations of any under/overpayments relating to the client contribution are made when the audit of the account is completed. This ensures the contribution is being paid correctly. A statement of account showing the charges due and the payments made will be provided following completion of the audit.

Contact us

Contact us if you have any questions or queries.