Direct Payments in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities
Direct payments are a cash sum given to people to help them to arrange and personalise their own support and services. They are used by various city councils as a way for those in adult social care to access the individual support that they need in the way that best suits them.
IMPACT worked with Leicester City Council from June 2022 to June 2023. The Council had identified that some community members did not access direct payments. In particular, this included individuals from the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. The Council wanted to understand the reasons behind this, and how to better meet their individual needs.
The Council recognises the term BAME includes a diverse range of different communities and cultures with different needs. Therefore, when we use the term we are speaking about these collective communities – not as a replacement for individual or specific references.
Pre-project Evidence on Direct Payments
Published research on personalisation is growing. However, the research rarely focuses in much detail on the experiences of people from different community groups. The minimal evidence suggests that individuals from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities are generally willing to try direct payments once they know how they work.
There were two key points that needed to be considered. You can learn more about these by clicking on the titles.
The Facilitator model reviewed all the steps involved in accessing direct payments. The aim of the review was to identify barriers that prevented those from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities from accessing direct payments and create a strategy to overcome them. This included understanding why some individuals preferred direct payments to commissioned care and why this may be. Rather than setting targets for engagement, the Council placed more importance on the meaningful value of people’s lived experience and overall greater choice and control.
The Facilitator did the following to understand the experiences of individuals and communities:
Throughout this process Leicester City Council was committed to the Facilitator project, and instrumental in setting up the main activities.
The biggest challenges were engagement and co-production. This was mainly because of the time and availability of staff and those with lived experience. It is recognised that the relatively small number of perspectives heard may not be representative of all views and experiences. Going forward, the Council aspires to co-produce changes to mainstream services and this may feature within their overall engagement plan.
Learnings about Direct Payments
The council will be using the evidence shared to:
- Commission actioning the changes identified by the Facilitator project.
- Develop staff training on the creativity and flexibility of direct payments
In 2023, Leicester City Council developed a database to capture personal assistant data. This may help the council better understand how people can personalise their care/support via their choice of a personal assistant.