Hiring your own carers or helpers using Direct Payments can be a hassle. Unless your loved one already has someone in mind, they might have to advertise for help and deal with interviews, wages and contracts.
One alternative is to use a ‘service broker’, who can act as an intermediary. Brokers help to arrange the support that your loved one needs and assists with recruitment and employment issues. Your local authority (use the Local authority services tab in our Care services directory for contact details) might be able to recommend a broker in your loved one’s area.
If your loved one receives funding from their local authority, they shouldn’t have to pay to use a brokerage service. The local authority should provide this although they may charge self-funders to use the service.
In Wales, service brokers don’t exist to help older people hire carers or helpers. However, local authorities can help people receiving Direct Payments in their capacity as an employer, offering support with recruitment and the payroll (see Employing private individuals).
In Scotland, the Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 provides a range of new options about how individuals can choose to receive social care services in Scotland. For more information see Self-Directed Support Scotland.
What if I need to act on behalf of my loved one because I have a power of attorney?
If you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (In Scotland, Continuing Power of Attorney for financial matters and Welfare Power of Attorney for health and welfare) , local authorities must offer the Personal Budget to you to act on behalf of your loved one. Guidance for local authorities outlines the process to be followed, so you will need to discuss this with your loved one’s social worker.
Other information you might find useful…
– Broaching conversations about financial matters can be very difficult, so you might find the Which? guide Talking about care options gives you some ideas for positive approaches to the subject
– Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney and Using a Lasting Power of Attorney
– The Which? guide to Home care and support services explains the different types of help available
– To find home care agencies and local authority services for older people, use our searchable Care services directory