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Frequently Asked Questions 

What are Direct Payments?

A Direct Payment is the money given to you by your Local Authority to spend on your agreed support needs.

This money can either be paid direct to you or a nominated person so that you can arrange your own care and support or we can arrange this for you, or a combination of the two. A Direct payment gives you the independence to:

  • Choose and control the support that best suits you.
  • Be fully involved in decisions about the support you need to live independently.

How do I get a Direct Payment?

You can only have a Direct Payment, if you have been assessed by your social worker as needing support to help you to live independently.

Everyone eligible for social care services such as respite care or help in the home is entitled to direct payments. This includes people with parental responsibility for a disabled child. The only exceptions are people who are unable to manage them even with a lot of help, and people covered by certain mental health/criminal justice legislation.
Direct Payments Guidance, 2003 *

  • People can have a Direct Payment in one, or any combination, of three ways:
  • A direct payment – the money is paid directly to your account
  • A third party budget –the money is managed by someone on your behalf e.g. the Authority,
  • An Agency, a family member etc
  • A national budget – you receive services directly provided by the Authority which are Costed so that a price can be put on the service you receive

With a direct payment, the money identified is managed by the person or their family Carers who then purchase the services and support they want in line with the agreed support plan.

Based on Local Authority criteria and an assessment of needs, a payment is identified. The individual can then decide which service or equipment that they consider best meets their personal needs. Some people will need guidance and support.

What are the stages of the Direct Payments process?

  • Making contact and getting clear information.
  • Understanding the person’s health and wellbeing needs.
  • Working out the amount of money available.
  • Making a care plan.
  • Organising care and support.
  • Monitoring and review.

My child already goes to a regular respite service– am I eligible for a budget and agency support?

If you are getting local authority services, but want to change to direct payments, contact your social worker and he or she will then visit you to discuss this.

There is no reason why you could not keep using services that you are happy with, and replace others with direct payments. You could also do this if you would like to try out direct payments, but are not sure whether they are right for you. When you are receiving direct payments, you are always free to go back to directly provided services if you want.

Direct payments can only be used to meet those needs that social services have already agreed that you can have help with, and the social services must be satisfied that the services bought with direct payments safeguard and promote the welfare of the child/adult. However, within these limits, government guidance to social services states that “by exploring innovative and creative options, people should be encouraged to identify alternatives that meet their needs more effectively”.* So don’t be afraid to suggest to your social worker ways that direct payments funding could be better used to meet your child’s needs.

Will a direct payment impact my benefits?

No – direct payments are not extra money to spend as you want on things like food; they are in place of help from social services to purchase support to meet needs and identified outcomes. They do not affect the benefits you get.

My son/daughter has learning difficulties – how can they be expected to manage a budget?

If your son/daughter does not have the capacity to manage their own Direct Payment a nominated person can represent them. SENAD Community are able to help manage this.

What can I use the budget for?

The Support Plan identifies the support you will need and the outcomes you wish to achieve. The means of achieving these outcomes will differ from person to person. As well as using the budget to pay for support, you can also spend it on different things that help meet your needs. Some examples include:

  • Support to develop new independence skills
  • Paying for someone to go on holiday with you to support you
  • Support to take part in social activities
  • Providing support to continue your education and skills development
  • Supporting transition to adulthood
  • Support to enable regular contact with family and friends to keep in touch

Do you charge for assessments?

No, our short assessments are free. We will visit our customers in their home to discuss their needs and aspirations. From this we can assist to develop a detailed delivery plan to ensure control and choice in the support you receive to receive to live a full and fulfilling life.

Will you help me with my plan?

We will help you to you to develop and continually review your support plan. We use person centred thinking tools to develop all our delivery plans. We will ask clients questions such as what they like and don’t like, what works and what doesn’t, to describe the different challenges they face, how they communicate and how they like to be supported. We focus on positive change and what an individual CAN do and is capable of, as well as developing and working with the things that they can’t. The objective is to develop a holistic support plan and ensure control and choice in your life.

Once the Support Plan is agreed with the Social Worker and a budget allocated we will work with you to develop a detailed delivery plan that is tailor made for your needs and personal preferences.

We will help you to find affordable solutions to encompass within your plan ensuring your likes and dislikes are accommodated. The support plan will identify:

  • How much money is available for support
  • Ways the money can be spent to meet your support needs
  • Outcomes that are expected to be achieved

Regular reviews take place to discuss how things are going, answer any concerns or redefine the services that may be needed.

What training will my Support Workers receive?

We invest heavily in our staff team and train them to a high standard.

All support workers are chosen for their empathy, understanding and interest in supporting people with complex needs to maximise their potential. By recruiting the right people and investing in their training and development, we can deliver an excellent quality service.

All our staff undergo an enhanced Disclosure Barring Service check (DBS) formerly known as a CRB. All staff also undertake a mandatory induction training programme that will include safeguarding, general health and safety, positive behaviour management etc. Training is regularly updated. Individualised training to meet specific client needs may also be arranged.

Staff teams will typically gain experience working with a broad range of young people and adults with complex needs within our specialist schools, children’s homes, transition services and adult residential homes.

SENAD Community is registered and inspected by the Care Quality Commission ( )

What happens if my Support Worker is ill or on holiday?

During the staff recruitment process, our customers will be introduced to potential staff members and will usually select several people to support them on a regular basis. While there may be one or two key support staff, others, such as team managers, will be known to our clients and we will try to ensure these people cover during times of holiday or illness.

As an agency we have access to back-up support staff to ensure you have peace of mind that cover is always available.

What happens if I have an emergency?

SENAD Community offers an emergency support phone line which our customers can call for advice when an emergency or something unexpected and worrying occurs. We can usually talk then through the situation and offer advice.

Why should I use SENAD Community?

  • You will not have responsibility for employment issues such as Tax, NI, holiday pay etc.
  • Your staff team will receive on-going training and development relating to safeguarding, health and safety etc.
  • Support teams can be agreed with a range of Support Workers who share similar interests and support you for different activities.
  • You may be struggling to find enough staff or to find well-trained support workers to meet your particular need and an agency solution can resolve those issues.
  • Clients are offered an emergency support phone line for those unexpected situations that can arise.
  • Flexibility and choice is at the heart of how support is delivered
  • Regular review of needs with clients updating on what is important to them and for them.

Who makes sure we are doing things right?

SENAD Community is registered and inspected by the Care Quality Commission who publish our inspection results (

SENAD Community is part of the SENAD Group.

How do I raise a concern about your services?

If you are not happy about anything you should speak to us directly. You will have a dedicated team manager who line-manages your support workers and you are always encouraged to phone and discuss any concerns on Tel: 01332 200 300.

How do I make a referral or general enquiry?

There are several ways you can contact SENAD Community

Telephone: 01332 200 300

Address: 7 St James Court, Friar Gate,
Derby, DE1 1BT

An on-line enquiry form can be accessed here