Issue details

22/00104 - Extension of the Direct Payment Support Service Contract

Proposed Decision:


Authorise additional expenditure of £315,000 to enable Commissioners to enact the final 12-month extension of the Direct Payment Support Service from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024


Reason for Decision:


As part of the support planning process, Direct Payments (DPs) are offered to individuals to provide a greater choice and control over their care and support arrangements. They are monetary payments that can be made to individuals to meet some or all of their eligible support needs. The legislative context is set out in the Care Act 2014, section 117(2c) of the Mental Health Act 1983, the Care and Support (DP) Regulations 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014.


Disabled Children and Young People Service commission the Direct Payment Support Service with a not-for-profit provider of Children’s and Young People Services The service is open to:

Parents and carers of disabled children

Parents and carers of children with special educational needs

Young people aged 16-25 with special educational needs

Young disabled people aged 16-25


The Key Decision to commission the Direct Payment Support Service was taken on the 30 October 2018. The Decision (Decision - 18/00055 - Direct Payment Support Service ( for a three-year fixed term with two twelve-month extension periods within a maximum budget of £1.7 million over the five-year term. The contract is currently in the first of the two available extensions and demand for the service is increasing beyond current capacity. The cost of the recommended option, to extend the contract for the final year, will exceed the original Key Decision of £1.7 million over the 5-year term and a further Decision is required to authorise the additional expenditure.




1)        Do nothing. The contract will end on the 31 March 2023 and alternative plans for the current cases and ongoing administration, and support, for Children Young People and Education Direct Payments. Currently there is no resource to undertake this work in-house. This option is discounted


2)        Extend with no additional capacity. Cases are forecast to increase beyond current contractual capacity, this means that a waiting list will be implemented with the anticipated wait length being 8-12 weeks before the case can be allocated to a worker within the commissioned provider. This option is discounted.



The proposed Decision is in line with Kent’s Strategy for Children and Young People with  Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 2021-2024


Priority One: Improve the way we work with children and young people, parents and carers. Qualitative feedback from parents, carers and young people using the service remains extremely high. The survey indicates that as of March 2022 100% of service users rate the support they receive as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, and a similar number stated that the knowledge of the worker provided tosupport them was ‘good’ or ‘excellent’


Framing Kent’s Future Council Strategy 2022:


Priority 4: New models of care and support: Our commitment is to reshape our commissioning practice to ensure we build strategic partnerships with our providers, through earlier engagement, more consistent and proactive commissioning practice, and a stronger focus on co-designing services.


Our commitment is to support the most vulnerable children and families in our county, ensuring our social work practice supports manageable caseloads, reflective learning, joined up safeguarding and effective corporate parenting arrangements.



Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/11/2022

Decision due: Not before 14th Dec 2022 by Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Lead director: Mark Walker

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Christy Holden, Head of Strategic Commissioning, Children and Young People‚Äôs Services Email: or 03000 415436.


The proposed decision will be considered at the Children’s Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on 29th November 2022.

Financial implications: The original Key Decision taken on the 30 October 2018 provided for a maximum contract value of £1.7 million over the five-year term. Demand has increased beyond current contract capacity and the recommended option to extend and increase capacity to meet growing demand means that the total cost over the five-year term will exceed by £315,000. The costs for the contract are funded from the Children’s Disability 0-18 Commissioning Revenue Budget. Efficiencies within this budget are expected to fund the majority of the increase required, with the increase relating to inflationary pressures, to be identified as part of the medium-term financial plan.

Legal implications: Direct Payments for parents or carers of disabled children are a statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 as amended by Sections 17A (inserted by the Health and Social Care Act 2001) and 17B (inserted by the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000) The contract legitimately allows for the extension.

Equalities implications: Equalities implications : An equality impact assessment has been undertaken and no issues have been identified at this stage. The equality impact assessment shall be kept under constant review as this project continues. Data Protection implications: Not applicable. There are no changes to the requirements of the contract other than the extension of service and increased capacity to manage demand.