6th October 2016


Minutes of the meeting

In attendance: Rod C, Angela D, Carolyn G, Dick and Hazel L, Brian L, Margaret I, Brian U, Terry G , Geraldine M, Elaine G-J, Sue C.

1. Apologies: Were received from Tim & Francis W, Chris & Lawrie S, John I and Nick M.

2. Matters arising from minutes of Sept meeting:  There were none.

3. Guest speaker:  Kerry O‘Dell from Herts Mind Network Watford talked about her organisation’s work as providers of support services to people in the community. Current cost is £15.00 per hour.

She pointed out that the type of non-clinical support provided, on the path to recovery, can be quite varied from:

  • Practical help eg housework, shopping
  • Support eg to leave the home to access community services and activities
  • Companionship / emotional support

Support assistants are recruited who have a lived experience as service users or carers of those with mental health issues. They are all DBS checked, pre-assessed and trained to meet this person centred role. Additionally, they are individually matched to the service user’s needs. A point to note is that if someone is receiving ESA benefit and are thinking of a return to work, they can apply to become a Support Worker and work up to 16 hours a week and earn no more than £115.50 by working under the “Supported Permitted Work” scheme, which is a great way for someone to ease back into the workplace with the safety of still having their benefit in place.

Dependent on how much Personal Budget or Direct Payment a customer has available, a Support Assistant can meet with an individual for an allocated amount of time each week, and say for example a customer receives 2 hours support per week, it’s possible to save up these hours and use them for a larger time slot at a later date if they so wish.

Kerry explained that if a potential customer is under the Mental Health Team then either their Care Coordinator or Social Worker will need to complete either a personal budget or direct payment application form. This is then forwarded to Herts County Council who will arrange a financial assessment as these payments are means tested, if a person has more than £23,250 in savings they will not be eligible.

Referral forms for Workshop in Mind are on the website (www.hertsmindnetwork.org) and referrals can be made by the individual, their family, a carer or friend, GP or CMHT. If a potential user of the service is under the Community Mental Health Team then an up to date risk assessment will need to be obtained. Once this is received, a home visit will be arranged whereby Kerry will visit that person and ascertain what areas of support are needed. Moving forward from this, once all the relevant checks have been made, a person will be introduced to a Support Assistant and if both parties are happy, the regular support can then take place.

There was some confusion from members about the various sources of funding. Those who are granted a Personal Budget do not have direct access to this pot of money, instead it is managed for an individual and whichever service they receive i.e. a Support Worker, the agency providing the service will invoice HPFT directly. A Direct Payment however, is given directly to the individual who needs to open a separate bank account for this pot of money to be paid into. Receipts and bank statements need to be provided to the funding agency as proof the money is being spent on the agreed services.

In answer to the question – Is there a maximum limit to the Personal Budget? Kerry’s response was No however the amount of funding granted to an individual will be realistic assessment of a persons needs.

Taken From the HS Choices Website

Direct payments and personal budgets are offered by your local authority to give you more flexibility over how your care and support is arranged and provided. They are given to both people with care and support needs, and also to carers.

A personal budget or direct payment will be created after an assessment by social services. If the council decides that you need any kind of support, you will receive a personal budget and can choose a direct payment instead of letting them arrange services for you.

 If you aren’t able to, or don’t want to manage your own finances, it’s possible for another person to manage the direct payments on your behalf

4. Speakers from November to January

Dick Lovelace identified those speakers who he intends to approach to speak us in the following order:

  • 3rd November Karen Irvin
  • 8th December Christmas Dinner evening
  • 12th January Sarah Williams to provide an update
  • 2nd February Tim Napper a CCG Commissioner
  • 2nd March The Bed Manager for Kingfisher Court
  • 6th April Chris Lawrence (Chair of HPFT)
  • 4th May James Holland

Additionally, Dick reported that Dr Oliver Shanley was leaving the Trust to become Head Nurse in London. Dick hoped that his replacement would agree to become a speaker in the near future. Contact has not yet been made with Joe Clack.

5. Coproduction Board

As discussion about how the budget will be spent was to be kept confidential following their last meeting, Dick could only report that not much progress was actually made.

6. Any Other Business

Rod reported that there will be a “Carer’s Evening” at the HPFT at 99 Waverley Road St Albans on Monday the 21st November from 5:30 – 9:30. He used this opportunity to tell us this because he warned that he could not be at our next meeting. Carolyn agreed to represent us and speak at this meeting.

Dick reported that his Quiz night in Tring was successful with all of the £1200 raised (less hall costs) to go to Charity. A contribution of £240 will be made to this group.

Terry reported that the web site was now up and that he would be emailing the members with its address and will be seeking constructive comments for its improvement.

7. Date of next meeting – Thursday 3rd November 2016