Can anyone give me some advice about this. Basically CDS are supposed to do a financial review every year when you receive direct payments. This has never taken place in 5 years we have been in receipt. Now a review has taken place. Initially I was using the direct payments for a PA. However getting a PA suitable is difficult. So basically I have been using the money to fund an afterschool facility. Basically the money I have been receiving I have been using it to fund as much respite as I can.
However, after conducting their 1st financial review they told me the rate they were paying for the direct payment was the PA hourly rate and not the agency rate which is lower. So basically they will cut the funding so I won’t get as much respite for the money.
We can’t actually cope and care for my 11 year old son without it. We are struggling as it is with his violent aggressive behaviour without this. I am absolutely devastated that they are going to do this. Can they do this???
Thank you for your question and I’m really sorry to hear that this is creating a lot of stress and uncertainty for you. I think there’s a number of things to think about here.
I’m not sure if the SDS budget you were offered originally was on the basis of both your son’s and your needs as his carer, or if this was just on the basis of the needs of one person? It might be helpful to clarify this. So for example, would your son have a Child’s Plan that might identify needs to be met through an SDS budget? Would you have an Adult Carers Support Plan that has identified your needs as his carer and a relevant SDFS budget? However, I can see that both your son and yourself have a need for support in some way.
It is the responsibility of Local Authorities to review any level of support they provide under SDS, which is often on an annual basis. This review is an opportunity to see what is happening in a person’s life and to see if they still need the financial support of the Local Authority. So this would be a very standard practise.
It sounds like from what you’re saying, the level of need that both your son and yourself have for support might not have changed. If anything, there may be a need for increased support. The key for me would be to make sure that when the Review takes place, you have the opportunity to discuss how things are and to make the Local Authority aware of any challenges you might face and be dealing with as a family.
From what you were saying, it doesn’t sound like the Local Authority have assessed your son’s or your needs as his carer, as having reduced in any way. Once the Local Authority have assessed the level of need and agreed to provide resources to meet that need, the question then becomes about the level of SDS budget - and whether this is sufficient to meet the assessed needs they have identified. It’s at this point that the Local Authority can take their resources into account when allocating a budget. However, that budget still has to be sufficient to meet the needs they have identified. If this doesn’t, this gives you a reason to go back and ask for their decision to be reviewed. One issue that some people can find, is that they are unable to recruit a Personal Assistant for example, as they live in a very rural area. So they may need additional resources to enable them to recruit and retain the support they need. So I could see you having this type of discussion with your Local Authority about the level of resources you actually need to secure the support that your son and yourself needs.
So, I think there’s a couple of things you can do:
Speak to your local Independent SDS Information and Support service, who might be able to help you further with this. You can either do a search on our website here: https://www.sdsscotland.org.uk/ and clink on ‘Find Help’ in the top right hand corner - and do a search for your local authority area. Or you can let me know which Local Authority area you live in and I can pass on the relevant contact details of organisations to contact.
Adult Carers Support Plan - I’m assuming that you will have one of these, but if you don’t then it would be helpful to have this, as you might be eligible for an SDS budget in your own right if you meet the local eligibility criteria for carers. Often it the local Carers Centre that can support you to put this together, or the Social Work Department.
It might be helpful for you to be aware of the Standards for Good SDS, which were developed by Social Work Scotland and which all Local Authorities in Scotland have signed up to implement. You can find more details on them here: Social care - self-directed support: framework of standards - gov.scot These Standards apply to the way in which Local Authorities implement SDS locally.
Independent Advocacy: It also might be possible to access Advocacy support for your son and/or yourself. You can check on what Advocacy services are available in your area on the SIAA website here: Find an advocate - Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
I hope that’s given you something else to go on but do come back to me if you’d like details of any organisations that are available to support you locally.
Thanks so much for your advice.
I have asked for a section 24 carers assessment to be carried out in addition to a section 23 for my child.
I hope I get some success with this.