Direct Payments (DPs) have become a key mechanism for delivering social care support aiming to offer greater choice and control to people in need of social care. DPs have been used in community care for a number of years, but people living in residential care homes have not had access to DPs so far. The Government has decided to expand this approach to care homes from April 2016 and initiated a Trailblazer programme to test DPs and learn from the experience prior to DPs becoming national policy. Eighteen local authorities have volunteered to participate in the programme and its evaluation.
The evaluation will include the following elements:
PIRU first carried out a scoping study aimed at understanding how each trailblazer site is approaching the implementation of DPs in residential care and what problems sites have encountered at the early stages of the trailblazer. It also included a rapid review of the evidence on the costs and benefits of similar ‘cash for care’ schemes in social care in the UK and elsewhere. This work resulted in a preliminary report to the Department of Health in November 2013.
A report with interim findings was completed in January and released for publication in March 2015. The report analyses data collected over twelve months (January to December 2014). During this period, 4 sites dropped out, leaving 14 sites in the programme. The data comprises self-completion questionnaires from service users, or their family members, who had either accepted or declined a direct payment; interviews with trailblazer project leads; and interviews with providers.
At the end of November 2014, 35 questionnaires had been received from users and family members, including 9 questionnaires from users who took up a direct payment, 3 users who declined a direct payment, 6 from family members of users who took up a direct payment, and 17 from family members of users who declined a direct payment. Early findings from the survey include:
Early findings from the interviews with project leads (n=14) in all sites and care home managers and owners (n=8) in selected sites were:
The final report of the evaluation was published in April 2017 and can be accessed here>>
Daniel Lombard describes some of the findings from the pilot evaluation in this LSE PSSRU blog. Read more>>
The article "Will Direct Payments make adult residential care more personalized? Views and experiences of social care staff in the Direct Payments in Residential Care Trailblazers" was published online in December 2016. The article can be accessed here>>
A second interim report of the evaluation was released for publication in December 2015 and can be accessed here>>
An interim report of the evaluation was completed in January and released for publication in March 2015 and can be accessed here>>
The evaluation team conducted a scoping study of DPs in residential care in 2013. A preliminary report was provided to the Department of Health in November 2013. A copy of the report can be accessed here >>