Direct Payments for Older Adults in an Age of Austerity

Philippa Locke*, Karen West

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Direct payments are a form of personalisation in which service users take full control of the organisation and management of their own care. This is considered to be a method that maximises autonomy choice and control. This article sets out findings from a study commissioned in 2016 by a local authority (LA) in England to explore older people’s views of direct payments (DPs) for social care. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with older people who were in receipt of DPs as well as older people who were receiving managed care packages. At the beginning of the project, the discussion took place with LA staff to set out themes to be explored, however, after collecting data it became clear that some themes bore little relevance to the lived experiences of those receiving DPs. The commissioned research was intended to explore the views of older citizens, but what it found was a chasm between the LA and its older citizens in understandings of needs and the capacity of DPs to meet them that is possibly indicative of the state of social care in an age of austerity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-228
Number of pages13
JournalEthics and Social Welfare
Issue number3
Early online date20 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Adult social care
  • direct payments
  • older people


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