Agenda item



The Committee considered an Audit Wales report on the National Review of the Direct Payments for Adult Social Care. 


The national report considered how Direct Payments were helping people to live independently. Direct Payments were an alternative to local-authority-arranged care or support and could help meet an individual’s or a carer’s need. In addition, the report considered how Local Authorities managed and encouraged the take up of Direct Payments and whether the services presented value for money.


It was reported that whilst the report assessed the current position in relation to direct payments, it did not address any of their shortcomings. However, there was a national policy drive in place to increase direct payments, but a failure to recognise in the report that direct payments was not always the right option in all cases.


The review had identified 10 recommendations which was included within the report.


The queries/observations raised on the report were addressed as follows:-


·       Committee Members raised that it was pleasing to note that overall the report was positive and the aspects raised were in line with what was happening across Wales.


·       Reference was made to paragraph cited on page 5 of the report – ‘Local authorities are required to provide support and assistance to people to manage their Direct Payment and employment responsibilities.’  It was asked, how this was addressed?  The Head of Integrated Services explained that an in-house support service team provides advice and guidance to individuals in managing their direct payment.


·       In response to a query regarding the Councils policy in respect of clawing back payments that had built up, the Head of Integrated Services explained that currently there was a relatively complex process in reviewing the situation of individual accounts, but technological solutions were being considered to help manage individual accounts such as pre-paid cards as an option.


·       Concern was raised that the executive summary of the report had not included or highlighted any staffing or financial/cost implications.  In acknowledging that given the nature of the report there were implications in regard to staffing and financial matters, the Head of Integrated Services stated that there were no new arising staffing or financial implications to highlight as the staff infrastructure was already in place and the budgets had already been allocated.  In order to meet the recommendations cited within the report existing staff and budgets would be utilised and channeled accordingly.


·       In response to a query if this report would be presented to the Health and Social Services Scrutiny Committee, the Head of Integrated Services explained from a governance perspective there was no requirement for it to go to Scrutiny.


·       In respect of the Direct Payments, in recognising that there was an allocation for ‘time for care’, it was observed that there was a sufficient allocation for costs associated with running direct payments to individuals.  The Head of Integrated Services explained that the in-house support service team includes the cost of payroll.  The employment relationship is factored into the rate and managed on an individual basis.  In addition, Carmarthenshire adopts a flexible payment structure whilst there are set rates for some aspects of care other rates are determined by each individual needs and arrangement in terms of their care and support.


·       In response to a query regarding the reporting on the progress of the recommendations in the report, the Head of Revenues and Financial Compliance stated that the Committee would receive the Annual Report which includes all external audit reviews, including this review, for consideration in December 2022.




3.2.1     that the findings and recommendations of the Audit Wales national report be noted;


3.2.2     the Carmarthenshire County Council response to the recommendations of the national report relevant to the Council be approved.

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