Direct Payments Support Services

Services for Independent Living began as Herefordshire Centre of Independent Living (HCIL) in 1996 when a group of disabled people started campaigning for a pilot Direct Payment scheme in Herefordshire.  This was an alternative to the provision of local authority provided social care.

…And so since 1996 our services have grown to support those who choose to be in control of their own care in receipt of a Direct Payment– spending their allowance on the care, support and activities that enrich their lives.

Our extensive experience and the fact that we are a local, non-profit making organisation, make us unique amongst the Direct Payment Support Organisations in Herefordshire.  

We refer to our services as Direct Payment support; but we not only offer our services to support people in receipt of or thinking about taking a Direct Payment but further afield. If you choose to manage your own care, we are able to help you with the day-to-day management and financial administration that it encompasses.

Receiving direct payments is not for everyone as you do need to account for the money, organise your own care and ensure the bills are paid. However, if you prefer to have more choice over your care and support, we can help with this. And you don’t need to worry about our fees. If you are in receipt of a direct payment, our costs will be met by the authority supporting you.

Find out how we made a difference to one of our service users and her family in this short video:

Explore more about our services on our website or call us on 01568 616653.  You can also contact us here




Keeping your accounts up to date

The Payroll and Financial Administration team have years of experience and can offer a fast, accurate and reliable service which will take the pressure off individuals.

Receiving direct payments or a personal health budget will put you in control of your care but it brings other responsibilities which aren’t so appealing. You will also need to account for the money, report back to the local authority or funding body and ensure the bills are paid.  Our team can support you with this, we offer two options;

Own account:

taking the stress out of accounting for where the money goes…

  • You hold the funding in your own separate bank account.
  • You pay the bills and invoices for the services you receive.
  • SIL completes the income and expenditure forms for monitoring reports required by your funding body or LA.  We will complete these from monthly bank statements, Direct Payment/Personal Budget remittance advice and any payments or receipts which relate to your direct payment.
  • You will need to provide us with these items.

Managed account:

offering the opportunity for those not wishing to hold the funds to still have the benefit and control of your own care through a direct payment/ personal health budget…

  • SIL can hold the funding on your behalf
  • We will pay all invoices relating to your direct payment/personal health budget
  • We complete any necessary reports for your funding body and liaise with them on your behalf

Where appropriate we can adapt these services to ensure that you gain as much or as little support that you require to achieve your independence.

Benefits of our Bookkeeping Service

  • As little or as much assistance as you need to manage the financial aspects of having a direct payment or personal health budget
  • A free initial meeting to discuss your requirements.
  • Confidentiality and discretion
  • Friendly and helpful team
  • Flexible and adaptable approach
  • Competitive charges
  • Follow up meetings as and when required to be tailored to individual needs
  • A high level of support offered to individuals to develop their knowledge and confidence in the use of their Direct Payments.
  • Service users are given legal and appropriate advice in line with the Department of Health & Social Care (DOHSC) DP guidance and the Local Authority’s policies and procedures.

By supporting service users we are able to help them liaise with social workers and financial monitoring officers in the local authority and discuss their concerns or queries. We can support individuals to learn how to manage their own account and move away from using the service with an agreed plan.

For full details of our charges click here

Further Information

How do I sign up to the bookkeeping service?

We’re delighted that you are interested in our service.  Here’s some more detailed information about how we will support you and our contact details.

Once you let us know that you would like to sign up to our service an advisor will arrange a convenient time to call you and go through the sign-up process with you and complete some paperwork, or we can schedule in a meeting at our offices in Leominster.  The paperwork will cover information about you, get your signed permission to act on your behalf with the Local Authority or funding body and some official forms that give us permission to pay your Direct Payment or personal health budget into our client accounts and a contract between us and you.

We will help you liaise with social workers and financial monitoring officers in the local authority to discuss any concerns or queries.

So that we can understand your Direct Payment we will ask you for a copy of your support plan and any financial assessment for your personal contribution. By having access to your support plan we can advise you (on request) what funds you have available in certain areas and give you support to help you budget your funds.

Contact us on 01568 616653 or email to sign up or for more information.

What if I want to hold my own funds?

If you want to hold your own funds in a personal account you will need to ensure invoices for care, activities and services are paid.  We will prepare your income and expenditure report which is due every quarter/ 6 monthly or annually depending on the local authority’s requirements.

You should provide the us with any information necessary to complete the income and expenditure sheets; this may differ depending on your Local Authority requirements. We will need the following:

  • Details of cheques written
  • Bank statements, showing personal contributions and incoming funds from the Local Authority.
  • Any invoices or receipts relating to your direct payment
  • Employee travel expense sheets
  • Receipts for any purchases or entrance fees related to your Direct Payment
  • Direct Payment Remittance Advice

 On receipt of the required documentation, we will complete and reconcile the income and expenditure forms to the bank statement for submission to the Direct Payment Monitoring Officer (DPMO) at your Local Authority or Financial monitoring officer at the relevant funding body.


Making sure your PA gets paid on time

Services for Independent Living (SIL) operates a Payroll Service for employers who employ their own Personal Assistants or care staff.  We understand the issues which are specific to this field of employment and can take the hassle out of managing your own payroll and the responsibilities which this entails.

With over twenty years’ experience within the team, we can offer a fast, accurate and reliable payroll service which is up to date with all current legislation. We offer full support, explanation and advice to employers and are able to tailor the service accordingly.

Payroll Service Benefits
• Confidentiality
• Flexible and adaptable approach
• Takes the concern out about confusing, complex legislation changes
• Safeguarding against penalties for non-compliance
• Processing and quick turnaround of monthly timesheets
• Competitive rates
• Dealing with starters, leavers, Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Student loans and all HMRC (Inland Revenue) queries
• Production of payslips and summary reports
• Processed to current HMRC statutory requirements
• RTI on-line filing
• HMRC accredited software
• Support to calculate holiday pay and redundancy pay
• Processing of pension contributions
• Pension administration service to take the worry out of auto-enrolment

If you would like to know more about our tailored payroll service please call us today on 01568 616653 or contact us here:

Further Information

How do I Enrol with the SIL Payroll Service?

When you enrol with SIL payroll an advisor will visit and help you complete and sign the following forms:

  • DPSS Agreement (indicating that you wish to use the payroll service)
  • Employers Details for Payroll

SIL will register you as an employer with HMRC using the information you provide. SIL will also apply for authorisation to act as agent on your behalf in dealing with your payroll affairs.

HMRC will send you a letter containing a unique authorisation code. Immediately on receipt you should pass this code number to SIL payroll so that we can complete the online authorisation process. The code expires 28 days after HMRC issues it so it is important to pass it on to us promptly.


Employers Details for HMRC (PDF 120KB)

What do I do when taking on New Employees?

You will need to complete a new employee information form for each new PA.

You will need to ensure that you fill in all points of the form

Your new employee should either:
a) Complete Section 1 of a P46 form (you should particularly ensure that they have ticked one of the boxes under “Your Present Circumstances”) and signed the form.
b) Or supply a P45 form from a previous employer.

If sending a P46 form please look at Section 2 and complete your own name (under Employer’s details) and the date employment started but you can leave the rest to us.

These forms should be sent to Services for Independent Living (SIL) payroll as soon as possible after your employee starts work. At the latest SIL must receive these forms within the first two weeks of them starting.  Without these forms, the payroll cannot be run and this may cause payment delays for your other employees.


Employee Information Form Herefordshire (DOC 44KB)

Employee Information Form Torfaen (DOC 44KB)

How do I let payroll know my PA’s hours?

Each employer needs to get their PA’s to complete a timesheet either monthly or 4 weekly depending on when you pay salaries. Both the employer and employee should sign the timesheets.

The service will run the payroll differently in each county due to differences in when employers receive their direct payment.

Your advisor will give you a guide specific to your area. If you have questions you can contact a payroll advisor on 01568 616653.

Information to payroll can be sent in different ways:

  1. By Post to SIL head office
  2. By scanning documents and emailing to SIL (

Timesheets should be completed at the end of each pay period for all employees who have worked for you. These include details of holidays taken, sick days etc. Detailed guidance on how to fill in a time sheet is contained at the end of this guide. If your staff are salaried your guidance will explain how you notify payroll of any changes.


Timesheet (XLS 26KB)

How do I pay my Quarterly Payments to HM Revenue and Customs?

Every three months (following payrolls for June, September, December and March) you will need to pay HMRC the income tax and national insurance due. Services for Independent Living (SIL) Payroll will inform you of the amount to be paid and send you a payslip to use with your payment.  (For client account service users SIL will arrange payment).

If your average monthly liability for PAYE and National Insurance exceeds £1,500 you will need to change to monthly payments.  SIL Payroll will advise you if this is the case.

You can choose how to make your payment:

  1. Send a cheque by post to HMRC at HMRC, Direct, BX5 5BD. Make your cheque payable to ‘HM Revenue and Customs only’.
  2. Take a cheque and the payslip to the Post Office (cheque should be made payable to “The Post Office”)
  3. Take a cheque and the payslip to your own bank (cheque should be made payable to “HM Revenue and Customs”)
  4. By Telephone or Internet Banking or by BillPay via the HMRC website. (SIL can give further advice about this option if required)

Always include the payment reference number (as advised by SIL Payroll) on any cheque used for payment.

HMRC have strict dead-lines for payment and now charge interest for late payment.The interest charged depends on how late the payment is and how often the payment is late.  To avoid any risk of these penalties being imposed, we advise that you either post a cheque or make a payment by the other means by the 15th of the relevant month.

What do I do about holiday pay and sick pay?

Most employees are entitled to paid time off work as set out in their contracts and by legislation.

Services for Independent Living (SIL) advisors can calculate holiday entitlement and provide you with a holiday form to record holidays taken.

Holidays taken should be clearly shown on timesheets.

If your employee is sick and unable to work for more than three days he/she may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).  Their entitlement largely depends on the agreement you have in their terms and conditions of employment.

If your employee is unable to work due to sickness, you should indicate the first day of sickness hours missed and their last day of sickness on their timesheet.

If you are an employer from Torfaen you need to telephone the payroll officer and inform them of the above.

SIL will advise you further as to whether your employee is entitled to SSP when the full circumstances are known.

Your employee should provide you with a “Fitness to Work Note” if their sickness lasts more than seven days. If you are in any doubt contact your payroll officer.

What statutory payments are my PA’s entitled to?

You should contact Services for Independent Living Payroll if your employee tells you that they is pregnant. We will then arrange for the appropriate forms to be completed and the correct employment advice given.

If your employee is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) we will process this as part of your payroll.

Your employees may be entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP). This is the time off for new parents and adoptive parents.

In most circumstances time off for these is unpaid, an advisor can help to discuss this further with you.

Can I pay mileage expenses?

Your social worker will inform you if you receive enough direct payment funds to pay your PA’s mileage.

  • In some circumstances they can be used where you have identified in your support plan that you will pay your PA mileage
  • The forms need to be completed by the PA and an explanation of the journey recorded
  • These sheets are similar to the time sheet in that it is required that both the employer and the PA sign
  • The detail of the journeys will inform us as to whether they are taxable earnings or not and the information may be required by HMRC in the future


Mileage Claim Form (DOC 17KB)

Deductions from my PA’s Earnings

Occasionally, it is required that deductions are made from your Personal Assistant’s earnings at source.These may be student loan repayments or even court orders.

You should pass on to Services for Independent Living Payroll any correspondence you receive regarding these issues in order for your payroll officer to arrange the deductions.

What happens if my PA is leaving?

When an employee leaves you should inform the Services for Independent Living payroll service by either providing this information in writing, by telephone or by email.

Ensure you make the payroll advisor aware of the full details such as last day of work and any notice period to be paid and any holiday pay.

We will then process the final payroll to include holiday pay accrued and issue a P45.

The P45 should be sent on to your employee as soon as possible. (This will usually be included with the final pay cheque).

What changes should I let payroll know about?

If your employee moves house you should advise Services for Independent Living (SIL) in writing of their change of address, including postcode.

If your Personal Assistant changes any of the following please complete an employee form telling your payroll officer of the changes:

  • Title
  • Marital Status
  • First name
  • Surname
  • Gender
  • Permanent hours of work

Pension Administration Service

The Pension Administration Service (PAS) is available to anyone who purchases our Payroll Services. The new legislation which makes it a duty for all employers, however small, to offer their employees a pension where applicable has caused a lot of confusion to many employers.

The PAS offers two levels of support depending on your individual circumstances. In each case you can be assured of the very best service from our Payroll Team who will be working on your behalf and at the end of a telephone to answer your queries.

Level one

You will be slotted into this level if you are identified as having no employees eligible for joining a pension scheme, or if any that are eligible choose to opt out. However, should an employee become eligible for enrolment to a pension scheme, or wish to join one, or you employ someone new who falls into this category, you will automatically be moved into Level Two and additional charges will apply from the date of transfer.

Level two

You will be slotted into this level if you are identified as having employees eligible for joining a pension scheme and who wish to take part;

We will :

  • Provide an information pack from SIL, which will include information from the three most popular pension providers for small employers;
  • Provide prescribed notice letters to be used to advise your employees about their eligibility and whether they want to opt in to a scheme;
  • Complete the Declaration of Compliance and lodge it with the Pension Regulator;
  • Set up with the pension provider of your choice;
  • Liaise with the Pension Regulator on all matters; and
  • Ensure pension contributions are correctly calculated and deducted at source

To find out more about auto-enrolment or the pension administration service please contact the payroll department on 01568 616653 or

Please note we are unable to give advice as we are not financially regulated to do so, but we can signpost you towards a number of options and then support you with managing your employee pensions, including liaising with HMRC on your behalf, once you have chosen a provider.

For a full list of all our payroll, bookkeeping, DPSS and Pension Administration Service charges, click download link below.

Employment Support

Help to employ your own care staff

For some people the greatest benefit of receiving a Direct payment or Personal Health Budget is that they can employ their own staff, they may be someone they already know or just to have guaranteed consistency in the person or team providing their care. 

Becoming an employer comes with a whole range of responsibilities which needn’t daunt you if you think you would like to do so. SIL offers a monthly Direct Payment Support Service Contract which includes the following:

  • Employment law advice and guidance
  • Recruitment Support (Developing job descriptions, advertising, interviewing)
  • Support with employment contracts and DBS checks
  • Identifying training for Personal Assistants
  • Support with grievances and disciplinary action
  • Support to set up employers’ liability insurance
  • Health and Safety advice
  • Access to detailed guidance and factsheets relating to Direct Payments
  • We provide all new employers with a ‘Guide to Employing your PA’
  • Regular SIL Bulletin highlighting changes in legislation and topics that are relevant to people receiving Direct Payments
  • An annual review

Our Direct Payment Advisors have many years of experience working with people who receive Direct Payments. Their extensive knowledge means that they can provide professional advice and guidance quickly and effectively, helping you to get the best from your Direct Payment and support you as an employer.  Giving you the right advice to keep you safe when recruiting your own staff.

We offer coaching and support to develop your skills and confidence in relation to employing your own staff and managing your Direct Payment.

In order to help reduce the challenges faced for the person receiving a Direct Payment, we also offer the Bookkeeping Service and Payroll services to support people with the requirements of employing staff and managing their Direct Payment. 

If you are thinking about taking, or have been accepted for a Direct Payment please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements. 01568 616653 or contact us

What is a Personal Health Budget?

What is a Personal Budget?

A Personal Budget is a sum of money allocated to an individual to meet their care and support needs. In some counties the funding ‘pots’ involved are:

  • Adult Social Care (ASC)
  • Primary Care Trust (PCT) Continuing Care Funds (eligibility permitting)

The person may choose to take all of the money as a Direct Payment to purchase services themselves, or have adult social care manage the budget on their behalf.

The advantage is that the person can choose to buy / do things that are not normally provided by adult social care. This may mean they get more involved in their community activities and ‘services’.

What is the process to get a Personal Budget?

The person must:

  • meet ASC eligibility criteria
  • complete a self assessment
  • have an assessment with their Social Worker
  • create an Indicative budget (based on Resource Allocation System)
  • produce a Support plan (Adult Social Care then have to sign off the Support Plan)
  • Implement the Support Plan

What are the benefits of a Personal Budget?

  • more flexibility than a Direct Payment (DP)
  • lighter touch monitoring
  • like for like changes

Here are some examples of how other people have used a Personal Budget:

  • Horse Riding
  • Walking Equipment
  • Theatre Group
  • Agency PA Support
  • Music Club
  • Entrance costs e.g. Halo
  • Singing Lessons
  • College fees
  • Employing own staff
  • Holiday (‘short break’ for carer)

What is a Support Plan?

A Support Plan describes what a person wants to change about their life and how they will use their Personal Budget to make these changes happen.

The Local Authority has to agree that your support plan will meet your assessed needs and your plan should answer these questions:

  1. What is important to you?
  2. What do you want to change?
  3. How will you arrange your support?
  4. How will you spend your money?
  5. How will you manage your support?
  6. How will you stay in control?
  7. What will you do next?

Services for Independent Living can provide support planning as a purchased service. For more information go to our direct payment services for more information.

Services for Independent Living can also provide support for managing a Personal Health Budget (PHB). PHBs are awarded by the NHS Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and are currently offered to anyone receiving NHS continuing healthcare but do not need to be in hospital. At the centre of your PHB is your care plan, which helps you decide your health and wellbeing goals, together with the local NHS team who support you, and set out how your budget will be spent to enable you to reach them and keep healthy and safe.

For more information about PHBs contact Herefordshire CCG, 01432 383822.

What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments are payments of cash made by a Local Authority or the NHS to disabled and older people and family carers. These are a way of you meeting your own support needs instead of the Local Authority or the NHS providing services to you. You need to have an assessment carried out by a Local Authority social worker or an NHS continuing care nurse. The assessment will show whether you are eligible for a Direct Payment and what you can use it for.

Who can get a Direct Payment?

  • Older people
  • People with learning disabilities
  • People using mental health services
  • People with physical disabilities and sensory impairment
  • Informal and family carers
  • Children and families
  • Parents of disabled children
  • Young carers aged 16 and over
  • People with HIV and AIDS
  • An appointed suitable person

What can Direct Payments be used for?

  • To employ a Personal Assistant who can support you with personal and domestic tasks, personal care, some elements of healthcare, accessing social and leisure activities, getting to work and parenting tasks
  • To pay for accommodation to go on a short break or to pay for a Personal Assistant to support you. Alternatively to pay for support to enable you to stay at home while your informal carer (e.g. spouse) takes a break
  • To enable you to purchase and participate in activities such as swimming or horse riding
  • To purchase support from a Care Agency

N.B. Direct payments cannot be used for urgent or acute (hospital) healthcare, GP services, housing services such as paying rent or to buy Local Authority services such as home care or day care.

Are you eligible to use Direct Payments?

If you or the person you are caring for has been assessed by the Local Authority or NHS as needing social care services, you may be able to have some of these services paid to you as a Direct Payment. An assessment is a discussion with you about your needs and involves gathering information from people who know you well such as a carer, family member, doctor or community nurse. You will be fully involved with your assessment and will have the opportunity to make your views know.

There are specific criteria that will be considered in the assessment of your needs to identify whether you are eligible for a service or Direct Payment from the county council or the NHS.

NB: If you are assessed as needing NHS Continuing Health Care you have the right to ask for a Direct Payment. SIL works closely with the Integrated Care Board (ICB) to ensure you can receive the support services you need should you choose to employ your own support staff.

Click here to see the range of services to support people using Direct Payments.


We work with both private funders (those who pay for their support from their own savings or income) and those who use disability or support allowances from Local Authorities, including health funded budgets.

Whilst it isn’t important to us where the money comes from, we do get asked a lot about where financial help can be found and how it all works – so in a nutshell…

Your first stop if you think you, or someone you know, needs help to cope day-to-day, is to get a needs assessment from your local council.

You will need to have this assessment before the council can recommend a service such as:

  • equipment like a walking frame or personal alarm
  • changes to your home such as a walk-in shower
  • practical help from a paid carer and care agency
  • day care for your child if either you or they are disabled
  • access to day centres and lunch clubs
  • moving to a care home

The needs assessment is free and anyone can ask for one.

You can find more about the assessment process at NHS-getting a needs assessment

The results of the assessment identifies what kind of care and support would help you, such as a paid carer or meals delivered to your home (Meals on Wheels).

If the assessment identifies you need help, you will then have a financial assessment (means test) to see if the council will pay towards it. This will be arranged for you.

Financial help comes in 2 forms:

  • Commissioned care: the details of your support needs, taken from your assessment, are called a “package”. This is put out as a contract to organisations, such as Services for Independent Living (SIL). If we think we can give the person the best support, we apply for the ‘contract’ to deliver the care required. Your support plan is fixed and paid for directly by the local authority to the successful care agency.  This is the most simply managed process.
  • Direct Payments: you may choose to have the value of your support plan paid directly to yourself. This option allows for more flexibility and allows you to choose who cares for you and what care you receive. Receiving direct payments is not for everyone as you do need to account for the money, organise your own care and ensure the bills are paid. However, if you prefer to have more choice over your care and support, we can help with this. If you are interested in a Direct Payment.  see our Manage my Own Care section

If you are already in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, the government based benefits for people living with long term ill health or disability, this may be taken into account.

What if I’m told I don’t need care?

If the needs assessment finds that you don’t qualify for care and support, the council should still give you free advice about where you can get help in your community. Ask if this doesn’t happen.

Useful numbers:

Herefordshire Council Adult Social Care; for advice and an assessment is 01432 260101.

Hereford Citizens Advice Bureau – 0344 826 9685