Sometimes an assessment with adult social services will show you are eligible for care and support. If that happens, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will tell you how much money you could get to pay for the care and support you need.
The money is called a 'personal budget' and is an indicative amount until your support plan has been completed.
You will know up-front (and early) what your indicative budget is likely to be. This is so you can begin to plan and choose how your care and support needs can be met (with help if needed).
Your personal budget can either be paid directly to you via a prepaid card so you can manage your support (a direct payment) or be managed by the council on your behalf.
Who is Eligible?
Personal budgets are available for anyone aged 18+ who is assessed and deemed eligible for adult social services support.
Your Support Plan
Following the assessment, you can choose to write your own support plan, write it with help from family or friends, or write it jointly with adult care workers.
Your plan should set out your choice/s of support to help you meet the goals identified in the assessment. It should contain the arrangements you wish to put in place.
Once your plan is written, it needs to be approved by adult social services. They will also need to decide how to review and monitor your care and support needs.
Arranging Your Services
You may prefer to arrange your own care and support. You can receive your personal budget in the form of a 'direct payment' to do this.
This means you will be given the money to arrange your own care and support. Most people who receive care and support have a right to a direct payment.
There are some limited circumstances where a direct payment is inappropriate, and an adult care worker will be able to tell you about these.
You must have arrangements in place to manage the necessary paperwork, either alone or with help. You will also need to satisfy the council that the services you intend to buy will meet your assessed needs.
In addition, if you plan to employ staff, you must show that you will meet your legal requirements as an employer.
Employing a personal assistant is one option that can give you a more flexible and tailor-made package of support which suits you.
If you don't want to employ staff, you can buy your care and support from a service-provider to meet your needs. You may wish to arrange your support yourself directly with the people you think are best to provide the help you need. You can discuss this with your care manager as some conditions may apply.
Employing staff and buying services
Alternatively, you can do both; you can employ staff and buy care and support, for example, to provide back-up cover.
A service provider is an agency or business that sells you care services, like care workers.
Your adult social services worker can provide names of regulated service providers in your area that provide the services you need. If you have a contract with a service provider, they will be answerable to you, not the council.
West Northamptonshire Council Can Manage Your Budget for You
The council can manage your budget on your behalf if you do not wish to have a direct payment.
This is called a 'managed service'. It is also possible to have your personal budget as a combination of a direct payment and a managed service.
Is Your Support Plan Meeting Your Needs?
Once the support you require has been arranged, WNC will work with you to make sure it continues to meet your needs. They will review your support plan with you regularly (at least once a year, but more often if needed).
This may involve changing the care and support you receive to reflect changes in your circumstances, your priorities, or different things you want to achieve.
It may also involve reviewing your eligibility and contribution to your care and support from WNC.