Peer support for people with learning difficulties accessing direct payments

Catherine Bewley and Linsay McCulloch

What support is there available to help people with learning disabilities access direct payments?

Changes to English regulations in 2003 (Wales in 2004) gave local authorities the power to offer direct payments, and a duty to offer them to eligible people. This should mean far more people receive direct payments. However, people with learning difficulties need help to access these funds.

The researchers found:

  • there are very few independent direct payments support schemes run by and for people with learning difficulties;
  • most independent direct payments support schemes have limited or no involvement by people with learning difficulties;
  • local issues and assumptions around funding, tendering and contracts have a big influence on whether people with learning difficulties are included in support schemes and whether contracts are given to groups of people with learning difficulties.