Dosh has been putting together our Business Plan for the next year: April 2018 to March 2019.
In our plan, we have written 6 commitments:
|1. We will show that people with a learning disability can lead our company|
|2. We will make sure our systems and processes are ready to support more than 1000 people|
|3. We will have a louder voice as financial advocates to make a difference for people through innovative research and ambitious projects|
|4. We will develop new ways to support people with a learning disability aged 16-25 transitioning from child to adult services|
|5. We will write a plan for Dosh from the point of view of people we support, building on the Dosh Promise to make sure we keep getting better at giving people the support they want|
|6. We will keep growing steadily and make sure Dosh has long-term financial stability|
We’re really excited about these commitments and our business plan and want to share them with you. We created a video that tells you all about them.
Meike Beckford February 16th, 2018
By Sam Fiske, former Finance Assistant for Dosh
In social care today, there are so many more possibilities for those who receive support than ever before. Today, if you want to have more choice and control in how your support is arranged, you can ask to receive your personal budget from the local authority as a direct payment. Having a direct payment means that you can pick who you want to provide your support to help you achieve your goals. If you choose, you can even employ a personal assistant. This means that you can choose support that truly fits you as an individual, your preferences, and the things you want to achieve in life.
Some people like what they hear about direct payments and the impact it could have for them and their loved ones, but they are worried about handling such large amounts of money and they are unsure who can ask for a direct payment.
Self-directed support is new and changing, and while everyone is still learning, we at Dosh believe it is a great opportunity for people to lead independent lives as they wish. We thought we would try to address some of the worries that people have and myths that seem to stick around.
Myth #1 “If somebody cannot ask for a direct payment themselves, then they are not allowed to have one”
Some people think that because an individual may not be able to ask for a direct payment (because of their disability or mental capacity); this means that they are not able to have one. This is not the case; all it means is that there are some extra steps that need to be taken. Even if a person is not able to manage the funds in their personal budget themselves, they can still consent to receiving them as a direct payment.
Your local authority should give you every chance to give your consent, by giving you support to understand information and using different forms of communication.
Once your needs have been assessed, the social worker of your local authority should lead a best interest decision process. This means involving you as much as possible and asking your friends and family and other people who know you well, what support you want. If it is decided a direct payment is in your best interests, a suitable person can agree to manage the direct payment for you.
Myth #2 – “If somebody has very complex needs, they will not be able to have a direct payment”
The level of support somebody needs does not make a difference to whether they can have a direct payment. If somebody has complex needs, and cannot communicate their preferences clearly, they can get support to choose and manage their budget.
A friend or family member can agree to become a suitable person, which means they handle the funds in a direct payment for you. This comes with responsibility, so it should be somebody you trust. If there is nobody you know that is willing and able to do this, then organisations like Dosh can act as the suitable person. We will agree with your local authority to manage the money, we will open a separate bank account especially for your direct payment, and we will pay the organisations who provide your support.
You can use a direct payment to buy any kind of support, including a support provider, or a team of personal assistants to meet your needs. We support people to manage a direct payment who have 24/7 support and high support needs and it works for them.
Myth #3 – “The amount of responsibility and paperwork involved in having a direct payment means it’s just not worth it”
Managing a direct payment does involve responsibility and paperwork, but this should not stop you or a loved one getting a direct payment – because there is lots of support available. If you would like a direct payment but not the workload that comes with, you may have a friend or family member who is able to do it for you. There are also organisations like Dosh who can support you to manage the direct payment. We can do this for family members who still want to be involved but do not want to manage the money itself. This might also be for you if do not want to or cannot manage the direct payment yourself but still want to choose your support.
Myth #4 – “Receiving a direct payment will have an impact on the benefits I receive”
The money you receive as a direct payment is not counted as income for any benefits you receive, and so it does not affect any of your benefits. It is not considered income because there are only some things you can use the money in your direct payment to pay for. You can only use it to pay for care and support services that meet needs as agreed in your plan. If benefits are your main income for day-to-day living, you have nothing to worry about – your benefits won’t be reduced or taken away because of a direct payment. You may have to pay some money towards your direct payment, but this happens with all types of budget and support and should be affordable.
If you want to learn more about getting support with direct payments and self-directed support have a look at our account management page. Still got some questions? Phone us on 0300 303 1288, or email [email protected]
Meike Beckford January 4th, 2017
Posted In: News and Blogs
By Meike Beckford, Financial Advocacy Manager for Dosh
A few weeks ago I attended a Highlands Brokerage Network meeting in Inverness and it got me thinking about self-directed support. We had a great discussion with lots of people from the Local Authority, care providers, advocacy organisations and housing providers with lots of positive ideas and input. We all saw the opportunity for SDS to put people in control of their own support and better enable them to achieve their goals and live the life they want. So why does it still feel so scary and difficult?
Self-directed support (SDS) is the umbrella term for types of care and support that are led and chosen by people themselves. It includes personal budgets, individual budgets, direct payments, Individual Service Funds (ISFs), personal health budgets and other types of budgets. That is of course part of the problem and we at Dosh spend a lot of time explaining all the terminology in our training and consultancy work. The amount of different legislation, from the 1998 direct payment regulations to the 2014 Care Act, also doesn’t help (although the 2013 Scottish SDS bill is a welcome piece of clarity). Ultimately though, I’m not sure this is the real issue, or at least not the biggest one. Much more, it’s our fear of the unknown and dislike of uncertainty.
At the brokerage network event, we were discussing what ‘brokerage’ is and had lots of different definitions. They included support to find services, managing SDS budgets, opportunities to transform support, creativity and community building, enablement… You may think that means we didn’t know what we were talking about, but I assure you we did! That is in fact the point – brokerage, and SDS more widely, is about all those things. In essence, it’s about values – empowerment, creativity and choice. People being able to live and lead their own lives with the support they need.
What I saw in the brokerage network discussion was these values coming through really strongly. In order to make SDS work we need to let these values and ideas flourish. We can get bogged down in working out the technicalities of how to commission services, fit with procurement regulations, or manage individual contracts. These are all things we need to think about, but without losing sight of the end and without losing all confidence in the idea.
If we focus on achieving flexible, personalised support for people, we can create the systems that enable that choice and encourage individuals and organisations to take up the opportunity it provides. After that, having different approaches and services around brokerage and SDS is surely a good thing, as long as we are clear what we are doing and people have choice in what services they want.
In our training to support professionals, we find a lot of people looking for the solution, the one answer that will make this whole SDS thing click into place. There’s a widespread feeling that everyone else knows more than us and has worked something out that we’ve clearly missed – there isn’t. There isn’t one magic answer and it isn’t without work, but if you’ve got the right values and aims then SDS can work. More importantly, it helps us all to provide people with the support they really want to live the life they choose.
Keep the principles in front and the rest will fall into place… and if you need a little support there are lots of people and organisations out there to provide advice, ideas and more formal support.
5 guiding principles for SDS
If you are a support provider – what do you do? Ensure people can understand so they can make as many of their own choices as possible. This allows them to choose the right support for them in line with their goals and support needs.
The point is to give people choice so don’t regulate and restrict so much that you lose that.
New is scary, but it’s also not impossible
If you don’t lose sight of those, you’ll be going in the right direction.
This is all about the individual achieving their goals with the right support, so talk to them and the people that know them. Think about what you do from their perspective.
We are always developing new projects, resources and support around SDS and we’d love to hear your ideas for what to do next. Get in touch to tell us how we can support you. You can also learn more about self-directed support in Scotland here: www.selfdirectedsupportscotland.org.uk
Written by Meike Beckford, Financial Advocacy Manager for Dosh
Meike Beckford October 20th, 2016
Posted In: News and Blogs