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Direct payments


What is it?

DPs are a method of receiving your personal budget, as funds paid directly to you, to allow you to organise and pay for your own eligible social needs. More information regarding personal budgets can be found following the link Personal Budgets.

In Hillingdon we currently administer a direct payment via a prepaid card, which is just like a debit card from your bank. You can use it to pay for services that meet your needs and outcomes, as agreed in your support plan.

How does it work?

  • Payments are made straight onto the card by the council
  • You can use the card to pay for services by 'chip and pin', standing order, direct debit or bank transfer, by telephone or the Internet
  • You can use the card to make either one-off or regular payments
  • You will only be able to make purchases when there are sufficient funds on the card
  • Your card will be set up for you by PFS (Prepaid Financial Services) on behalf of the council
  • You can view all your spend activity online and this information is retained and available to print at your convenience

Please note that our preferred option is to administer Direct Payments via a prepaid card, however other options can be explored on a case by case basis.


Who can have a direct payment?

Anyone who is eligible for funding from the council to meet their care and support needs can have a direct payment. You can choose to have any or your entire personal budget as a direct payment. This means you can take a sum of money with which to arrange your own support, rather than Adult Services doing it on your behalf.

You must:

  • be willing to have direct payments
  • be able to manage the direct payments, either on your own or with someone else's help

All new direct payments service users, nominees, or third parties who manage the service user’s direct payments on their behalf, will receive their payments via the prepaid card.

Service users who are eligible for Continuing Care Funding can also choose to receive their personal health budget via a direct payment.

Managing the money

Your social worker and support planner will, during the assessment and support planning process, explain all that is involved in managing your personal budget. They will explain the support available to you so an informed decision can be made to determine whether you, as the service user will manage the direct payment, or if someone known to you i.e., a family member or close friend would take the responsibility and be the ‘nominated person’ to manage it on your behalf.

If you need someone to act on your behalf to manage your payments for you and your social worker will determine whether they are suitable. If you are unable to manage a direct payment but would still benefit from having one, you may be eligible for a 'managed account'. This is where a 3rd party manages your direct payment on your behalf. The council has a list of Approved Providers who offer different types of managed accounts, depending on your needs. For more information please see the further information section below.


Choice and control

A personal budget, paid via a direct payment, puts you in control of the type of care you need based around what matters to you and what works for you. This gives you the chance to have more choice and control over how the support you need is provided to you.


A personal budget, paid via a direct payment, gives you flexibility in how your care needs are met. For example, you may want to employ a personal assistant or a support worker to help you remain in your own home or you may want someone to help you attend adult education classes, or leisure activities to help you develop your skills and interests.

If you are purchasing care direct from an agency, make sure you tell them you have a direct payment as they may be able to offer reduced rates.

With a prepaid card:

  • There is no need to open a separate bank account
  • Payments can be made via chip and pin, online, telephone or bank transfer
  • You have better control over the budget as money is taken straight from the card (like an Oyster card)
  • There is no need to submit bank statements and regular financial monitoring records

What is involved?


Your agreed support plan outlines how your support needs will be met and your agreed outcomes achieved. As part of this, your support plan includes a calculation of the amount required for your support needs and shows how you will spend this to help meet your support needs and to achieve the outcomes you want. If it has been agreed that you need support to manage your DP from one of our 'Approved Providers', this will also be detailed in your support plan, including details of the provider or providers you have chosen, how much support you need and the amount we will pay you to purchase this support. If you access support from one of the Approved Providers, it is your responsibility to pay the invoices for this support, directly to the provider using your prepaid card. You should not request or pay for support services, unless it has been agreed by the council in your support plan.

You, your nominated agent and any suitable person must meet set responsibilities, which will be explained to you during the assessment and support planning process.

You must retain any receipts and invoices relating to your support which has been paid for using your DP money for six years. You must provide the Council, upon request, with documentary evidence of the proper use of the money paid to you. With the prepaid card service that we now have, there is the facility for service users to submit evidence on their own prepaid card portal.

You may only use your DP money in a way that clearly helps you, the service user, to achieve your outcomes set out in your support plan. If you are unclear about what expenditure is allowable then please contact: Hillingdon Social Care Direct


The council will regularly monitor how you are spending the money paid to you from the information available from the prepaid debit card provider, including whether you are paying your assessed contribution on to your prepaid card, if you have one. In certain circumstances the council will contact you to discuss your expenditure and may require you to submit further information relating to the payments you have made.

If the council considers that the use of the money paid to you represents an inappropriate use of public funds, or causes disrepute to the council, the council may determine that you are ineligible to receive further such payments and other methods of meeting your support needs will be arranged.

If you are not satisfied with the level of service or the costs of the provider you pay then you must first discuss this with the provider concerned. You are legally responsible for the services you purchase with the monies you receive from social services. If you are unable to resolve the issue with the service provider then you should contact Hillingdon Social Care Direct to discuss further options.


If you decide to end your agreement

If you decide to end your agreement, you need to ensure you give the appropriate notice and give yourself enough time to set up a new agreement with the replacement person or agency, so that you are not left without the care and support you need. If there is going to be a gap between the old agreement ending and the new agreement starting, you can contact the council to see if they can make alternative arrangements for your support needs to be met.

If you employ a personal assistant, you will need to give them the appropriate notice as per the terms of their contract.

If you decide to completely end your direct payment agreement with the council, we will determine if any money is owed to you or from you and will pay you this amount or invoice you accordingly.

Further Information

If you already have a prepaid card, you can download the user guide here and the online banking guide here.

For an easy read guide to direct payments, click here.

For more information or advise you can contact the Direct Payments Team at Hillingdon on 01895 556694 or by email at DirectPaymentsTeam@Hillingdon.gov.uk

Personal Budget Support Service

For residents who need support to manage their direct payment, we offer an 'Approved Provider' list of suppliers so people can choose what support they need and who they want this support from.

All approved providers on this list have been checked by the council and the Clinical Commissioning Group to give you reassurance when purchasing services. The list will be reviewed regularly to ensure that all providers are delivering high quality care and their services and prices are up to date.

We recommend that you choose a provider from this list, although you may choose to use someone else or not have support at all. The providers on the list have been approved for one or more of the following services:

Employ a named personal assistant

A service to assist in the necessary arrangements to formally set up a PA up to and including the completion of a probationary period. Normally for situations where the individual has found their own PA.

Advertise and recruit a personal assistant

A service to assist in finding/matching PA and individual this would include DBS checks etc and setting up all employment requirements.

Ongoing support to employ a personal assistant - e.g. information and advice on employment matters

To assist with the day to day circumstances of employment from appraisal to performance concerns, annual leave, terms and conditions queries.

Payroll Service

Provision of a full payroll service for an individual directly employing a PA to include all PAYE, P60, IR submissions etc.

Managed Account (using LBH pre paid card)

Where an individual wants the flexibility of a Direct Payment and does not wish to use council or CCG commissioned services but does not wish to manage the account and liaise with providers themselves, under the direction of the individual this service will organise and arrange all of their care and ensure the record keeping meeting the local authorities requirements.

The council will ensure that anyone with a direct payment who requires support to manage their direct payment is allocated the necessary funds on their prepaid card, to pay for the support services they require. This support will need to be discussed and agreed with the relevant social work team and added to your support plan. Services should not be requested or paid for until they have been agreed by the council and added to your support plan.

The Approved Provider list gives full details of each provider, their contact details, the services they provide and the costs and can be found here.

If you would like a paper or email copy of the list, please contact the Direct Payments team on 01895 277680 or 01895 250296 or email directpaymentsteam@hillingdon.gov.uk

We will hold regular engagement events for service users and their families to meet the providers on the approved list and discuss the services they offer.

We will announce further events as they are arranged, however service users are free to contact the approved providers themselves, to find out more about them.

Funding for training is now open

If you employ your own personal assistants (PA's) using a direct payment or your own money, you can apply for money for training for you and your staff from Skills for Care.

The funding can be used for lots of different training including moving and assisting, first aid, communication, dementia awareness, diabetes awareness, risk assessments, skills for employers and qualifications like a diploma in health and social care. It can also cover travel costs and the cost of hiring replacement PA's. It is easy to apply so to find out more, visit the Skills for Care website. Applications close on 28 February 2020.

Case studies

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Last reviewed: 09/07/2019

While every care has been taken in the compilation of the information on this website, neither Hillingdon Council or PCG Care Solutions will be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of using the site and any inaccuracies/errors within these pages.

If you choose to purchase services via the Marketplace, you are advised to refer to the Buyers Guide prior to making a purchase, as well as making your own enquiries and seeking independent advice. This is applicable to Adult services only, as there is no Marketplace for Children's services.