What is a Direct Payment?

A Direct Payment is money given to families who have been assessed as needing social care support and would like to arrange and pay for the services themselves instead of receiving them directly from the Council.
If we say you are eligible to receive services paid for by the Council, you can choose:

  • To take up direct payments
  • Have the council arrange the services for you
  • Have a mixture of the two above
  • If you receive a direct payment, you take responsibility for:
  • arranging your services;
  • managing your money;
  • employing staff where required;
  • maintaining the paperwork involved.

Why have a Direct Payment?

Greater flexibility and more choice about:

  • Which services you use to support your child;
  • Who directly supports your child;
  • When it is most appropriate for your child to receive support.

What can and can’t Direct Payments be used for? 

It can only be used to meet assessed needs in the ways agreed in your child’s care plan.

What direct payment can be used for?

A direct payment can only be used on items and services that are legal and that will meet your eligible assessed needs.

Some people choose to:

  • Employ their own personal assistant (enabler/carer) to help them live as independently as possible and allow some respite for people who provide regular care for them
  • Pay for support services from agencies
  • Access social or community activities


What direct payments can’t be used for?

You cannot use your direct payments for:

  • Anything that is illegal
  • Anything that would bring the Council into disrepute.

This includes the following:

  • gambling
  • alcohol
  • drugs and other addictive substances
  • Housing costs or household bills - your income or state benefits allow for these costs
  • Takeaways or other food and drink

If you spend the money on anything which has not been agreed then you can be asked to pay it back.

What do I do next if I am interested in receiving Direct Payments?

If you have not already had an assessment of your social care needs, you must do this first. To request an assessment you will need to contact the central Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub and specifically request an assessment of your child’s social care needs.

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
c/o Torbay Council
Town Hall
Castle Circus,
Tel: 01803 208100
Email: torbay.safeguardinghub@torbay.gov.uk

If you have already been assessed as needing a social care service, or you are already receiving directly provided care and wish to know more about Direct Payments contact your child’s social worker and/or the Direct Payments Officer.

Children with Disabilities Team
c/o Torbay Council
Town Hall
Castle Circus,
Tel: 01803 206280
Email: disability@torbay.gov.uk