‘Direct Payments in Birmingham: Choice, control and flexibility’ investigates the experiences of local citizens using Direct Payments to access social care support and services.

By Healthwatch Birmingham

Recipients of Direct Payments, their carers and third sector organisations told us about issues such as a lack of clear, consistent information and guidance about people’s entitlement to the payments and the support needed to guide people through the process. People want choice and control over how their payment can be spent. We also heard about the need for people to have freedom to plan flexible ways to meet their care needs. It was clear from recipients’ feedback the importance of assessments and reviews being person-centred and timely including the improvements needed to provide accessible ways for people to learn and manage their payments.

  • Citizens want clearer information and choice about their entitlement and use of Direct Payments.
  • Council staff need a better understanding of Direct Payments, and services that can support people, to enable them to effectively inform citizens.
  • Real collaboration between the Council and citizens is needed to ensure Direct Payments is truly person-centred.

Healthwatch Birmingham shared the findings with Birmingham City Council, who outlined planned work programmes and actions within the report to improve the experiences of people applying for and in receipt of the payments.

Direct Payments in Birmingham: Choice, control and flexibility Download File (pdf 757.70 KB)

The research undertaken by Healthwatch Birmingham on Direct Payments has contributed helpful and insightful evidence to the work of our Scrutiny Committee. An effective Direct Payments scheme is one of the City Council’s key performance requirements, and our Committee is keeping a close eye on how effective and appropriate the scheme is for service users. - Councillor Rob Pocock, Chair of Birmingham City Council Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee