Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Direct Payments

Valid until 31 March 2018.

What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments, which are sometimes referred to as Self Directed Support, are an alternative way of having your needs met after your community care or children’s services assessment has identified them.

Once you have your needs assessed you can choose to receive services from the local authority or you can choose to have a cash payment instead so that you can buy the service directly for yourself.

Orkney Health and Care will calculate the amount of the Direct Payment based on an individual assessment of your care needs.

Direct Payment money must be used to purchase services to meet your agreed care needs.

Direct Payments will not be regarded as adding to your income for the calculation of income related social security benefits.

More detailed guidance is available- ask your Social Worker / Occupational Therapist / Rehabilitation Officer for this. Information is also available at from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

Who can receive Direct Payments?

You can receive Direct Payments if:

  • You are assessed by Orkney Health and Care as in need of care services and have legal capacity to receive a payment or your guardian/Attorney can do so for you.
  • You are 16 or over or the parent/ guardian of a child with disabilities. Some people will be excluded for legal reasons.
  • You are willing and able to manage a Direct Payment alone or with assistance.
  • Orkney Health and Care will allocate a Direct Payment in the same way as other services are decided upon, ie. on the basis of need and availability of resources.

Why would I want Direct Payments?

  • To give greater control over when and how your needs are met.
  • To allow you the freedom to choose the staff you employ or arrange the services yourself.
  • To provide you with alternatives to locally existing services.

What can I use Direct Payments for?

  • Payments can be used to employ a personal assistant or buy services from an agency such as Crossroads or from the Local Authority, but cannot be used to pay for a permanent residential care place or to buy services from NHS Orkney.
  • These payments cannot normally be used to employ your spouse, partner or close relative because of the very different relationships that you would have with a family member and an employee and conflicts that could arise for you from this.
  • You can choose to have a package where you have some of your care needs met through Direct Payments and other needs met using services provided by the Council. This might mean you attend a day centre but have a Direct Payment to pay for your Home Care/ Personal Care needs.

What are my responsibilities?

  • You will have legal responsibilities with which you must comply if you employ your own staff, e.g. the preparation of pay cheques, calculation of income tax and national insurance. The local Independent Living Project can help with managing these tasks.
  • You will have to account on a regular basis that the payments you receive are used to meet your needs as they have been assessed. You will get detailed information about what you need to do should you be allocated a Direct Payment.


If at any time you are not satisfied with the action or decision of Orkney Health and Care, you can use our complaints procedure.

A complaints leaflet is available at all our Council Offices.

Useful Addresses

Duty Worker, Adult Social Work Team

Orkney Health and Care, Orkney Islands Council, Council Offices, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY.

Telephone: 01856873535.

Independent Living Project

Orkney Carers Centre, The Travel Centre, West Castle Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1GU.

Telephone: 01856870777.

Advocacy Orkney

Orkney Counselling and Support Centre, The Travel Centre, West Castle Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1GU.
Telephone: 01856870111.

Related Sites