Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 27 January, 2014.


Report of the Cabinet Member for Adult Services


Providing a Direct Payment Support Service


Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek Cabinet approval for a further extension to the current contract for the provision of a direct payments support service, to allow full exploration of potential collaborative working with Cardiff Council.


THAT Cabinet:


1.         Grants a further six month extension to the existing nine month extension awarded by Cabinet on 22nd April 2013 (Cabinet Minute C1310) in respect of the current contract for provision of a direct payments support service.

2.         Agrees to the formation of a joint project board across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff to consider, identify and resolve overarching legal, procurement, governance and service delivery issues.

3.         Authorises the Director of Social Services and Managing Director (in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, and the Leader) to:

·               start tendering procedures for a collaborative service across the two local authority areas, following agreement of a service specification and resolution of any issues in respect of governance arrangements and service delivery.

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

4.         If the collaborative working does not proceed, authorise the Director of Social Services and Managing Director (in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Services and the Leader) to:

·               Start the tendering process for a support provider service for direct payments.

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

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To finalise collaborative working arrangements.

2.         To allow for due consideration of required service models, the impact of this model on existing processes and the staffing implications.

3, 4. 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 the responsibilities set out in the Welsh Government's Direct Payments Guidance Community Care, Services for Carers and Children's Service (Direct Payments) (Wales) Guidance 2004 and as amended in 2011;

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

·               uses an appropriate opportunity to collaborate and streamline service provision across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.


2.         Direct payments enable adults and parents of children with a disability to purchase in their own right, as part of their individual care plan, the assistance or services that the Local Authority would otherwise provide.  A direct payment gives people, who are eligible for personal assistance to meet their assessed needs, the opportunity to look beyond local authority service solutions.  This can help service users to get more flexible support, giving them increased control and voice, independence and social inclusion.

3.         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.  As 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.         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.  This Council awarded a contract for providing these support services to Dewis Centre for Independent Living, following a tendering exercise.

5.         To allow officers time to consider the potential for developing a collaborative approach to procuring a direct payments support service across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff, Cabinet awarded an exemption to Contract Standing Orders (Cabinet Minute C1310) for a period of nine months.  Previous contractual arrangements within the Vale of Glamorgan required a new service to be awarded and in place by 1st December 2013.  The nine month exemption has extended this period to 1st August 2014; to achieve this deadline would require procurement processes to start by February 2014.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         Following the initial decision by Cabinet to grant an exemption to contract standing orders, a considerable amount of work has been undertaken by officers from the two Councils to develop a joint service specification.  Because of significant differences in existing service approaches, this has taken longer than anticipated.  In addition, Cardiff Council has been giving consideration to using an approach that would promote provision by a social enterprise.  The draft service specification is nearing completion.

7.         Because of the unanticipated delays, there has not been sufficient  time  to consider thoroughly enough how both authorities would undertake a joint procurement exercise.  Further work is required with regard to the service specification, the required service model implications for existing working practices and procedures, governance and management arrangements, staffing and budgetary requirements.

8.         It is intended that the new model of service will provide enhanced support to service users which may result in an increase in those who feel able to use direct payments.  This will reduce the number of domiciliary care packages purchased directly by the Council.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.         The service will be funded from within the Social Services budget.  Given the level of expenditure, EU procurement guidelines and contract standing orders have to be followed.

10.      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.

11.      Any additional costs to be associated with direct payments should be offset by a reduction in domiciliary care commitments.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12.      The opportunity to work collaboratively on the procurement of this service will produce cost savings within community care budgets.  This will enable the Council to extend coverage of the service, making it more sustainable in the long-term.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.      Any change of service provided in the future as a result of a tendering exercise may have employment law implications between incoming and outgoing providers.  If there are any such implications for the Council, Legal Services would be consulted as appropriate.  Every externally provided service is managed through a robust contract that fully reflects the responsibilities for the Council and the provider. 

14.      Local authorities are required to comply with statutory guidance from the Welsh Government Direct Payments Guidance Community Care, Services for Carers and Children's Service (Direct Payments) (Wales) Guidance 2004 and as amended in 2011.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

17.      The provision of a support service to people who want to make use of Direct Payments helps them to overcome any barriers to participating barriers, such as concerns about obligations as an employer.

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

·               "Citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan are healthy and have equality of outcomes and, through appropriate support and safeguards, the most vulnerable members of our community maximise their life opportunities";

·               "People of all ages are actively engaged in life in the Vale and have the capacity and confidence to identify their own needs as individuals and with communities";

·               "The diverse needs of local people are met through the provision of customer focused, accessible services and information";

·               "Older people are valued and empowered to remain independent, healthy and active.  They have equality of opportunity and receive high quality services to meet their diverse needs."

19.      The Community Strategy 2011-21 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."

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      Current service users have recently been consulted on their experience of the Direct Payments scheme through the collaborative process.  This feedback has been taken into account during the specification process.  Service users and representative organisations will be included as part of the procurement process and in future service reviews.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Social Care and Health

Background Papers

Cabinet Report : C1310 Providing a Direct Payment Support Service - 22nd April 2013.

Contact Officer

Carys Lord, Head of Business Management and Innovation.

Officers Consulted

Head of Adult Services.

Responsible Officer:

Philip J Evans, Director of Social Services