Anger as mistakes saw assistants to disabled people not paid on time

PUBLISHED: 12:28 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:28 22 January 2020

Clive Shipp. Pic: Philip Williams.

Clive Shipp. Pic: Philip Williams.

Philip Williams

Mistakes meant personal assistants for disabled people, who have already seen their care costs increased because of a county council decision, were not paid on time.

Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group.Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group.

People with care needs are able to use the payments to which they are entitled to hire personal assistants to help them.

Norfolk County Council offers a payroll service to administer those payments - but there were problems with it this month.

Clive Shipp, from Terrington St Clement, near King's Lynn, was one who was affected.

He said: "We have two personal assistants and their wages weren't in on Friday morning, so we had to ring them.

Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for adult social care. Picture: Matthew Usher.Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for adult social care. Picture: Matthew Usher.

"One got paid Friday afternoon. I rang again at 3pm and was told that payment to the other PA had just been paid, which proved to be untrue and she didn't get paid Friday at all.

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"I had to ring again Monday and she didn't get paid until about 2pm on Monday. It's totally unacceptable. We rely on goodwill between ourselves and our PAs."

Independent councillor Sandra Squire asked a question about the problem at a council meeting and sought assurance they would be on time in the future.

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, said he could not give that assurance, but did say: "If somebody is entitled to a payment it is only fair that they receive it when they should receive it and shouldn't have a lot of hassle around something which is their due."

After the meeting, a council spokesman said: "When people employ a personal assistant, the county council offers a payroll system to ensure their employee is paid on a monthly basis, provided there is enough money in the employer's account.

"The Direct Payments Support Service ran its monthly payroll at the beginning of February, covering 1,493 personal assistants.

"The pay date was Friday, January 10 and of the 1,493 timesheets processed, all apart from two were processed on that date.

"It would be inappropriate to divulge personal details about these two cases, however, both cases were resolved within the following five days."

Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council last year agreed changes to the minimum income guarantee, which reduces a weekly allowance disabled people get, making a difference to how much they have to pay for care.

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