How to use underspend

Could anyone advise as to how they used their underspend. For instance I have a significant underspend. Can I use it to pay for the site fees for my caravan as my husband and I go there every weekend for respite. He is also paid as one of my PAs.


Different local authorities will take a different approach to using and recovering an underspent balance - and I’ve not heard any specific examples of it being used for site fees - but the general principle is that you should be able to use an SDS budget, including underspent money, flexibly and creatively towards anything that can be argued to meet your assessed needs/outcomes. Section 7 of the SDS guidance states that “authorities must not impose blanket bans on funding certain kinds of goods (for example, holidays) and services (unless prohibited by the 2014 regulations).”

I would write to/email your social worker with a detailed and costed proposal, along with an explanation as to why this would be an effective way of spending the money that you have accrued. You might also want to consider whether the site fees could be part of your ongoing plan, if you consider this to be an important part of meeting your care needs.

You might need support to argue your case, so you would be best to contact your local SDS independent advice service if you haven’t already:

Hope that’s helpful.

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Thank you, that helps. Much appreciated

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Thanks for the guidance. I wasnt aware of that.

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If your expenditure is in pursuit of the personal outcomes then, as far as i am aware, yes. However not everyone has a a clear statement of the agreed outcomes. Do you have a support plan in which these are clearly recorded?

Also, I would be interested in what local authority area you are in, as you both employ a PA and appear to have full control over the DP, which is good.

Page 19 of the guidance says:

“Flexible use of direct payments: the choices available to a supported person under a direct
As set out in the section on funding and flexibility, the authority should take steps to ensure that the
supported person can use their direct payment in any way, provided that the support purchased via the
payment is in line with the assessment and support plan, meets the supported person’s needs and is
within the criminal and civil law.
Typically, direct payments have been understood as a route to employing a personal assistant. However,
a direct payment can also be used to purchase a wide range of things. For instance:
■ a service from the local authority or from another local authority;
■ a service from a provider organisation in either the voluntary or private sector;
■ a product which can help to meet the supported person‘s needs;
■ a short break; and
■ anything else which will help to meet the supported person‘s needs and the outcomes in the support