When you agree to receive Direct Payments, you will be asked to sign an agreement with your local Health and Social Services Trust.

You should receive and keep a copy of the agreement with the Trust.

You will be responsible for keeping proper financial records regarding how the Direct Payments are spent. The Health and Social Services Trust must be satisfied that the money is spent appropriately, and in agreement with your Care Plan. You will be provided with a Care Plan, which you should keep.

This information sheet will explain what records you need to keep, and how much information you need to retain. The purpose of this information sheet is to present a suggested format for your records. There are various ways to keep records. You must find the way that suits you best, as long as you can provide the minimum information required.

For more information or support, contact Centre for Independent Living NI, who will be happy to help you to understand what is involved.

The Next Steps

Open a separate bank or building society account

You will be required to open a bank or building society account solely for the use of your Direct Payments. It is necessary that you ensure that the bank or building society can provide you with regular monthly statements.

All you need to do is go to your bank or building society and ask to set up a new account. This can usually be done free of charge. The bank or building society may require you to provide proof of identity. Your local Health and Social Services Trust will require your Sort Code and Account Number in order to be able to pay your Direct Payments.

Keeping records of income and expenditure

You should keep a monthly record of your income/expenses and retain this for inspection by the Trust. You should also keep bank statements, receipts and time sheets.

Bank statements

Keep all statements from the bank/building society account so you will be aware of money entering and exiting the account at any given time.

Details of employees

It is vital that you keep details of employees for your own information. These should include:

  • Name 
  • Address 
  • Telephone 
  • National Insurance Number.

You are advised to keep records of when your employee(s) began working for you, copies of the contract, hours worked and payments that they receive.

Time worked

You may wish to use a diary, have time sheets or rosters to keep a record of hours worked if you employ more than one Personal Assistant. Keeping such records will be useful when working out how much to pay your employee(s).

Wage receipt slips

Employees are entitled to receive a wage slip detailing how their wages have been calculated. It should include his or her name, how many hours they have worked, the hourly rate of pay and any deductions made.

Payment

Employees should sign receipts for any payments made to them. This has two purposes, firstly to prove that the money was received and secondly to keep track of the Direct Payments. Receipt books can be bought at any good stationery shop.

Paying Agencies

If you use an agency, you should keep any invoices and receipts.

Additional costs

If you have additional costs, for instance receipt books or rubber gloves you should obtain an invoice or receipt to prove that you have spent the money on such items.

Tax and National Insurance

When you become an employer, and tax and National Insurance contributions are applicable, you have a legal duty to register with your local HM Revenue and Customs. Centre for Independent Living NI can give you details of how to do this and the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) system.

You may find that you need a cashbook to record details of your income and expenditure. Personal computers are useful for storing this type of information, if you have access to one.

Regular updating of records will make completing your HMRC returns simpler.

Don't let any concerns you have about record keeping put you off accepting Direct Payments as Centre for Independent Living NI will be happy to explain the process and support you in ensuring that you gain the skills you need to keep records.

Direct Payments users who find it difficult to fill in paperwork may assign it as a duty of a Personal Assistant. Employees may sign cheques in their own favour but this is unusual. Alternatively:

  • you might choose to use the CILNI Payroll Service or
  • to have a friend or relative assist you with the procedures and record-keeping.

HM Revenue and Customs require you to keep PAYE records for 6 years after the tax year ends. If a PA goes to industrial tribunal you will need records for up to 6 months.