Independent successes: Implementing direct payments

Carol Dawson

Direct payments have been heralded as a way for disabled people to gain more independence and control over their lives.

However, the introduction of cash payments in lieu of community care services is highly complex for both disabled people who wish to employ their own personal assistants and for social service departments.

This report - written to inform disabled people and their advocates, staff within social service departments and in voluntary organisations - follows the implementation of direct payments in one social services department. From the initial consultation stage to the full operation of the scheme, Carol Dawson draws conclusions and makes recommendations for others wishing to become involved with direct payments.

The evaluation draws on qualitative interviews with disabled people receiving direct payments, the personal assistants they employ, operational and support staff within the social service department and key people within two support organisations. Quotes from interviews throughout the report to offer a rich insight into the positives, the challenges and the negatives of using direct payments for those directly involved.

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