Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 22 April, 2013


Cabinet Member for Adult Services


Providing a Direct Payment Support Service


Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek authority to retender the contracts relating to the provision of a Direct Payments support service.


1.         It is recommended that Cabinet authorises the Director of Social Services in consultation with the Managing Director, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, and the Leader to:

·           commence tendering procedures for the services outlined in this report; and

·           accept and award tenders for this service in accordance with the Council's Contract Standing Orders.

2.         It is recommended that an exemption to Contract Standing Orders be granted to the Director of Social Services to extend the contract with the current support provider by a further nine months, if the collaborative work with Cardiff County Council is to proceed.

3.         It is recommended that Cabinet authorises the Director of Social Services in consultation with the Managing Director, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, and the Leader to  enter into an appropriate form of Inter Authority Agreement with Cardiff Council in relation to joint procurement, if appropriate, and authorises the Head of Legal Services to agree and execute the form of any such agreement to cover both the procurement of the service and management of the service during the Contract period.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that the Council:

·           provides a Direct Payment Support Service in a cost effective way and meets the assessed needs of service users;

·           fulfils its responsibilities under the various relevant legislation including the Community Care, Services for Carers and Children’s Service (Direct Payments) (Wales) Regulations 2011 and the Section 7 Guidance issued by the Welsh Government namely Direct Payments Guidance, Community Care, Services for Carers and Children’s Services (Direct Payments) (Wales) Regulations 2011; and

·           meets the requirements of its Financial Regulations and Contract Standing Orders.

2.         To enable the Council to consider all options for the future delivery of this service.



2.         The Community Strategy 2011-21 identifies, as a priority for the Council and its partners, the objective of supporting individuals to maintain their independence and control of the services they receive.  The Strategy states that: "Our goal is to increase the level of health and social care services that can be described as citizen directed, i.e. people being increasingly in control of the support they need to live their life as they choose."

3.         Direct payments are monetary payments made by Local Authorities directly to individuals who have been assessed as having community care needs that are eligible for certain services (including to people who care for others).  Direct payments enable individuals to purchase in their own right the assistance or services that the Local Authority would otherwise provide.  They therefore give individuals greater control over their own lives.  Since the original legislation was passed in 1996, the scope of direct payments has been extended to include older people, carers, parents of disabled children and disabled 16 and 17 year olds as well as disabled adults.  From April 2011, people who lack capacity or who are subject to mental health legislation became eligible.  Where a Local Authority makes a direct payment, it retains its functions with respect to overall provision of the services under the applicable Social Services legislation.  So long as the Local Authority is satisfied that the individual's assessed needs will be met through the direct payment, it is not obliged to provide or arrange those services for that individual

4.         As part of their individual care plan, adults and parents of children with a disability are provided with Direct Payments, which enables them to exercise greater control over their own life or their child's life by providing an alternative to social care services arranged by the local authority.  A Direct Payment gives the person flexibility to look beyond local authority service solutions for certain housing, employment, education and leisure activities as well as for personal assistance to meet their assessed needs.  This helps increase opportunities for independence, social inclusion and enhanced self-esteem.  

5.         The starting point is an outcome-focused assessment and care plan that helps to clarify what an individual hopes to achieve as a result of getting the right help and support.  The local authority can put conditions on how Direct Payments are to be used but must remember that the aim is to give people more control and choice.  Restrictions, if any, need to be kept as few as possible and monitoring as simple as possible.

6.         To make it easier for individuals to arrange their own care, local authorities should offer them the option of getting help from a support group or local centre for independent living.  Experience has shown that developing support services is a key component in successfully implementing Direct Payment schemes. 

Relevant Issues and Options

7.         To support recipients of Direct Payments and to achieve the requirements of the Welsh Assembly's guidance, a contract for providing support services was awarded to Dewis Centre for Independent Living in December 2008, following a tendering exercise.  The tender was awarded for a period of 3 years, with an option to extend by up to 2 periods of 12 months each.  The contract extension periods were taken up in 2011 and 2012 and the contract will expire on 30th November 2013.

8.         The number of recipients of Direct Payments has increased in recent years.  At the start of the Dewis contract, there were 85 individuals in receipt of Direct Payments. Currently, there are 134 Direct Payment recipients: 35 in Children's Services, 98 in Adult Services and 1 is a carer..  People are not compelled to use the services of the support organisations.  Of the 134, 6 or 4% do not receive any support from Dewis and 120 or 90% receive payroll support.

9.         A new contract for the support service will have to be in place by 1st December 2013.  The Authority's Contract Standing Orders require that contracts with a total estimated value of £100,000 or higher should be subject to an appropriate procurement process that ensures value for money, compliance with legislation governing the spending of public money and protect individuals from undue criticism or allegation of wrongdoing.  The re-tendering of the Direct Payments support service will be designed to ensure that these three principles are fulfilled.

10.      There is a potential to work collaboratively with Cardiff Council on the provision of the service.  Timelines are not currently aligned but, should a joint tender appear feasible, the Directorate would look to receive an exemption to Contract Standing Orders for 9 months.  This would allow the necessary preparatory work to be undertaken between both authorities to develop appropriate tender documentation. Additionally, it would be helpful during this exercise to consider the potential for developing the service using a social entrepreneurial approach (such as a stakeholder cooperative involving service user representative organisations) to develop support services for Direct Payments. 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.      The service will be funded from within the Social Services budget given the level of expenditure.  

12.      The process of retendering the service will be undertaken by staff within the Directorate, making appropriate use of corporate expertise and processes in areas such as procurement, finance and HR.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.      There are no sustainability or climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.      Any change of service provided in the future as a result of a tendering exercise may have employment law implications, including TUPE, between incoming and outgoing providers.  If there are any such implications for the Council, Legal Services would be consulted as appropriate.  The current review of all working arrangements between the Council and other agencies will ensure that every service will be provided through a robust contract that fully reflects the responsibilities of the Council and the provider. In addition to the Council's contract standing orders, Public Procurement Regulations will need to be adhered to.

15.      Direct payments are now governed by the Social Care Act 2001 (2001 Act) and the Children Act 1989 (1989 Act).  The power to make direct payments to people with parental responsibility for disabled children and to disabled 16 and 17 year olds was created by the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 (2000 Act) and is contained in Section 17(a) of the 1989 Act.  In making direct payments under Section 17(a) of the 1989 Act, the Local Authorities are subject to the general duty provided by Part 3 of that Act to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need, and to promote their upbringing by their families when making these payments, in exactly the same way as when providing direct services.  Amendments were made to the relevant part of the 2001 Act by the Health and Social Care Act 2008.  Further changes were also introduced by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (2005 Act) and by the Community Care, Services for Carers and Children’s Services (Direct Payments) (Wales) Regulations 2011 (the Regulations).  Pursuant to the making of the Regulations, the Welsh Government issued guidance, "Direct Payments Guidance, Community Care Services for Carers and Children’s Services, (Direct Payments) (Wales) Guidance 2011".  This guidance is issued under Section 7(1) of the Local Authority Social Services A\ct 1970.  The broad effect of these changes was to extend the current system of Direct Payments to include people who lack the capacity within the meaning of the 2005 Act, to consent to the making of Direct Payments, and to remove the exclusions which had applied to people who were subject to various provisions of mental health legislation (particularly the Mental Health Act 1983 (1983 Act) and to provisions of criminal justice legislation relating to mental disorder.  The Regulations came into force on 11th April, 2011.

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.      There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

17.      All tendering processes will be open to organisations from the independent, third and social entrepreneurial sectors.

Corporate/Service Objectives

18.      Key objectives of the Council addressed by this report are:

·           "To make the Vale a safe and healthy place in which individuals, children and families can live their lives to the full";

·           "To manage the Council's workforce, money and assets efficiently and effectively in order to maximise its ability to achieve its service aims".

Policy Framework and Budget

19.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.      Current service users have recently been consulted on their experience of the Direct Payments scheme and this feedback will be taken into account in developing the service specification for this tender process.

21.      Service users and representative organisations will be included as appropriate as part of the procurement process and in future service reviews.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Social Care and Health

Background Papers



Contact Officer

Carys Lord, Head of Business Management and Innovation


Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team


Responsible Officers:

Philip J. Evans, Director of Social Services