Direct Payments Management & Brokerage

Bridge it Options Ltd works with local authorities and funders to help people in receipt of social care services and have been allocated personal budgets to plan and manage their own care and support needs. We realise that planning and managing care & support, finding useful information, going through the complex maze of social services and organisations that can help individuals achieve what they want can be a very daunting process. If you do not know where to start, Bridge-it Options Ltd staff draws on a wealth of previous experience working for local authorities and providers of Social Care, Health Care and Tele-Care services. You can rest assured that you will be given the right advice and practical & technical support.

Our Aim

  • To support people to achieve their intended outcomes
  • Ensure the individual is involved throughout and that they have the final say
  • That the worry and hassle of managing direct payments, employing staff and the paperwork is not the reason for not taking up direct payments

Technical Advice and Support Offered

  • Necessary advice and support in relation to your obligations as an employer e.g. tax and National Insurance, employment law, payroll, DBS checks, insurance services, health and safety, etc.
  • Advice in relation to terms and conditions of employment including preparing contracts of employment.
  • Recruitment and ongoing employer support e.g. mentoring, dispute resolution, PA training and development, etc.
  • Support you as an employer e.g. set up clear processes for scheduling, rotas, recording and monitoring each Personal Assistant’s work.
  • Help you open a bank account for your direct payments to be put in.
  • Prepare and submitting monthly expenditure returns to the Council on your behalf.
  • Providing, arranging, or overseeing payroll services.

The Key Functions of Our Service

  • To find out what is available
  • To explore what is possible
  • Provide information (signposting)
  • Encourage and develop informal support
  • Coordinate support and resources
  • Assist a person to manage their obligations and responsibilities in relation to a budget
  • Facilitation to make things happen
  • Help with care support planning and person centred planning
  • Help a person to speak up for themselves or where necessary to speak up on their behalf

Local authorities can offer Direct Payments to individuals who meet certain criteria. However, many people do not take up on the offer because of they feel it comes with too much responsibility and also that it will be difficult for them to manage the personal budget. To bridge this gap, Bridge-it Options Ltd aims to ensure that help is at hand for those who wish to take up direct payments and be in control of their care and support needs. Usually you do not need to worry about the cost of our service, as the local authority or your funders will include it in your Personal Budget.

What is a Personal Budget?
Money that is allocated to you by your local council to pay for care or support to meet your assessed needs. The money comes solely from adult social care. You can take your personal budget as a direct payment, or choose to leave the council to arrange services (sometimes known as a managed budget) – or a combination of the two.

An alternative is an individual service fund, which is a personal budget that a care provider manages on your behalf. A personal health budget may also be available: it is a plan for your health care that you develop and control, knowing how much NHS money is available.

What are Direct Payments?
Direct payments can be used to employ a carer, pay for day centre, buy equipment, pay and agency etc. The most important thing is that the individual’s assessed needs are met and that their outcomes are achieved. The Direct Payments service is a means by which disabled people can administer their own care funds to secure the services they need at the times they need.

This provides greater flexibility, independence and dignity. In the past people receiving services from the local authority have been restricted to prescribed services and equipment, often with no choice being offered. Direct Payments allows people to receive funding from the local authority and it is then for them to select whichever service or piece of equipment that they consider best meets personal needs. Some people will need guidance and support, which they will receive. Indeed there may be some for which such a facility is not appropriate and they would continue to receive a high level of support.

Do I Qualify for Direct Payments?
Local authorities are required to offer Direct Payments individuals who meet a certain criteria. The eligibility to receive for Direct Payments is that the individual must be able to manage the payment, alone or with assistance. The assistance could be through a Direct Payment Brokerage service like Bridge-it Options Ltd.

You cannot be forced to use Direct Payments if you would rather the authority arranged or provided your services. Some services, such as permanent places in care homes, are excluded from Direct Payments. Directs Payment can only be used to meet the person’s needs as assessed under the local authority’s eligibility criteria. Ask your local authority for further information about its Direct Payments scheme.

What is Brokerage?
Someone or organisations whose job it is to provide you with advice and information about what services are available in your area, so that you can choose to purchase the care and support that best meets your needs. They can also help you think about different ways that you can get support, for example by making arrangements with friends and family. A broker can help you think about what you need, find services and work out the cost.
How Does a Support Broker from Bridge-It Options Work With Me?
A Bridge-it-Options Support Brokers will listen, understand, see things from your perspective and help you to change things that you feel are not  working for you, achieve more for less, empower and encourage you to direct your own care and support, ensure your needs are met and outcomes are achieved.Your Bridge-it-Options  support broker will  look at your needs as  assessed by social services, and then will sit down with you, and your family or friends if you wish, and discuss who you might employ and which services you might use to meet your needs and give you a more independent life.

They will then support and work with you to draw up a support plan listing the people and services you choose and how much each costs. The total cost of your needs must come within the sum allocated to you by your local authority. The support broker will work with you and your care co-ordinator to ensure that your support plan continues to meet your on-going needs. Your council will make Direct Payments to your personal account to cover all the agreed costs.