Poor practices identified in the delivery of direct payments
Welsh Conservatives have expressed concern at new findings which outline poor practices in the delivery of direct payments for adults for the purchase of assistance or services.
The findings come as part of a desk-top review on how councils are currently managing Direct Payments for Adults, undertaken by the Auditor General for Wales.
Serious concerns have been raised about the management of direct payments across Wales, with take-up outlined as low and vulnerable people often not given adequate support to apply.
Findings suggest that Labour Ministers have failed to work closely enough with Local Authorities to support vulnerable people to live independent lives, via the provision of direct payments.
The findings, however, do acknowledge some good practice – with Monmouthshire Council singled out for praise for taking support for carers seriously, with networks, guidance, respite care and health checks offered, and carers forming their own support groups.
Commenting on the publication of the briefing paper, ‘Provision of Direct Payments for Adults by Welsh Local Authorities’, Shadow Social Services Minister Altaf Hussain AM, said:
“Direct payments play a hugely important role in giving people within our communities the chance to live independently – so it is deeply worrying to read that take-up is often too low, there is not enough promotion, and the scheme seems to operate more successfully in England.
“Whilst any good practice identified – such as support for carers in Monmouthshire – is welcome; it is clear Labour Ministers have clearly not done enough to work with Local Authorities to ensure vulnerable groups benefit from the availability of direct payments for community care.”
Shadow Communities Minister, Mark Isherwood AM, added:
“Direct Payments allow people to make more of the decisions which affect their lives – and Welsh Conservatives want to secure real change so people are empowered to decide how their needs will be met, by whom and at what time.
“Sadly, this paper acts as further evidence that not enough people in Wales are using direct payments, that necessary support is not in place and that the scheme is not sufficiently promoted.
“By increasing the take-up of Direct Payments, we want to see a Wales where service users and carers have more opportunities to plan their own care and support services.”