If you think you would find managing your own workers difficult or if you wish to use an agency instead of employing directly you can decide to use your Direct Payment to pay a care agency as an alternative.

 

There are advantages to using care agencies:

  • All the services will be arranged for you
  • You can specify the times when you need assistance and what assistance you want
  • In the absence of your regular support worker, cover should be provided by the agency

There are disadvantages as well:

  • Using care agencies will give you less control over the service you receive
  • It might not give you the freedom you want
  • You may not always get the same person providing your care

You might consider using an agency to provide support when your regular personal assistant is unavailable to provide short-term cover. Also, you might find that your needs are best served using a combination of services.

  • Selecting an Agency

If you decide to use an agency, make enquiries to get the best service and value for the support you require. Discuss your needs with the agency to ensure that they provide appropriate support at the right times for you.

As part of the government’s initiative to improve overall Care Standards, all agencies must be registered with the Care Quality Commission and will be expected to work to a minimum set of national standards. Once registered, an Agency is not allowed to charge VAT on its invoice to you.

If you’d like a list of Care Agencies, please contact us.

  • More about Agencies

Many Agencies employ their own staff and are therefore responsible for all aspects of their staff’s pay and employment.  In these situations, the Agency will send you regular invoices to pay for the support that they have provided.

Alternatively, some Agencies have set themselves up as an ‘Introduction Agency’ and will charge you an ‘introduction fee’ for providing you with one or more carers.  The carers they provide may class themselves as self-employed and if this is the case you will have to pay the carer yourself, rather than the Agency.  For more information about employment status please go to the Self Employed Personal Assistants page.

It is important that you always discuss with the Agency where their responsibilities lie and what the employment status of their workers is.  You should always insist on a written contract for services from an Agency.

Posted in: Becoming an Employer