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PCC v Personal Care Budget - Direct Payments Employers



Well-known member
Apr 13, 2018
The 7th of July 2020 was an eventful day when Plymouth City Council (PCC)/NHS commissioning group mailed an estimated 230 direct payments recipients with an official letter signed by Adult Social Care, this letter explained: "that because of an error in our systems your letter included the incorrect hourly rate". The rate advised by PCC on 1st April 2020 is that it would be £10.64 hourly rate for a Personal Assistant.

A report on another website, Unison, reports it was due to an "admin error" and that the PCC is being reasonable in handling the affair? And PA's should contact PCC directly in this case; who is contacting the PCC?, the employer or employee in the Unison publication case on their website!

A "Confirmation of Variation of Contract Terms" template also included with the mailing for the Personal Assistant's to sign their rights away was enclosed. A notice period on at least a month and provide notice to them in writing if possible by 13th July 2020 was advised by PCC, and the above mailing was received on 10th July 2020 by most recipients.

Notice of what, a major contract variation with no full explanation but "system error" that wasn't noticed in over three months when direct payments accounts should be monitored accordingly in a shorter period! The notice is what, termination of the employment contract otherwise in a month, by the employer making the employee redundant?

The new hourly rate for PA's would be set at £8.72 with effect from 10th August 2020 on the direct payments personal budget system? An estimated 50%, from an anonymous source, said: "had done as the PCC had requested in the correspondence" and adjusted the rate accordingly with consent from their PA's?

A flow chart with the process to follow was also enclosed, with details of what to do when this process is in a deadlock with the employer and employee with the last stage advised as follows: Seek further advice, from your insurance provider or Enham Trust when hitting that stage in the flow chart. A considerable percentage of employers of PA's had hit this obstacle advised in the flow chart, likely the remaining 50%?

This leaves five points open:-

a) personal care budget flexibility?
b) does the PCC have the right to set employee rates for employers with personal budgets?
c) why are PCC, Enham Trust and Insurance providers providing differing advice, and all putting pressure with the employer and employee relationships?
d) what is the correct process for PAs in this process?
e) what is the correct process overall?

Surely the next stage in the equation, e), is for the PCC drop the rate of direct payments of the personal budget, and then directly there is a case to pass to the LGO omnibus man after a complaint, and that has now been advised. But the PCC has advised one or some that they can take the matter to the LGO omnibus man in an email dated 16th July 2020 and that the PCC will be transparent in the explanation with the LGO investigation! So, there is going to be two investigations by the LGO omnibus man in the case...? Is the PCC being reasonable in their explanations and process, surely not?

No employee should accept a major contract variation by signing their rights away, just don't sign anything at all in this matter. The employer then has a choice to drop the pay rate with consent which is perfectly acceptable in employment law or drop it without consent completely unacceptable in employment law and an industrial tribunal would likely rule against the employer; Rigby v Ferodo Ltd [1988] ICR 29 (HL); Burdett Coutts v Hertfordshire County Council [1984] IRLR 91.