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. In 2013, following a recommendation by the Law Commission, the Government initiated a Trailblazer programme to test DPs for residents in care homes. Eighteen local authorities volunteered to participate in the programme and its evaluation.
The evaluation included the following elements:
- A process evaluation aimed to understand the different ways in which DPs were being offered to residents of care homes and how any challenges to implementation could be overcome.
- An impact evaluation assessed the potential effects of DPs on care home residents and their families, care homes and the local care home market, and on councils and their staff, such as care managers.
- An economic evaluation examined the costs of different approaches to providing DPs for residents, their families and the local councils.