What is a Citizen Directed Co-operative?
Direct payments enable service users to receive money from their local authority which allows them to choose and arrange their own support instead of being dependent on services provided by their local authority.
A Citizen Directed Co-operative is an alternative way for citizens to manage their direct payments. When an individual chooses to join a direct payment co-operative, they become a member.
Members jointly own the co-operative and decisions about how the co-operative is run are made by the members.
(See resources section below for more information about co-operatives)
What are the benefits of a direct payment co-operative?
The direct payment co-operative model enables recipients to retain the benefits of direct payments (such as control and flexibility) whilst offering opportunities to overcome some of the barriers (such as admin and employment responsibility).
A co-operative could also offer other benefits to members such as peer support, sharing of resources, and supporting innovation.
(See resources section below for report by Northumbria University for further information about benefits and potential opportunities)
What about the practicalities?
We envisage that the members of the co-operative would continue to manage and direct their PAs. However, it’s likely that the members of the co-operative would choose for the co-operative to be the employer of the personal assistants and take on the necessary employment responsibility. This could include insurance, payroll, admin, dealing with employment disputes etc.
However, exactly what the co-operative does and how it will work in practice will be decided upon by the members setting up the co-operative.
We envisage that the direct payment will be paid directly to the citizen.
Direct Payment Support Schemes:
We envisage that the co-operative will sit alongside direct payment support schemes and provide citizens with an extra option for managing their direct payments.
The co-operative approach will not suit all direct payment recipients, but it will be an available option for those who want the benefits that a direct payment co-operative can bring.
For more information please contact: