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A short guide on brokerage and the role of brokers in relation to social care

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Disability Rights UK Factsheet F67

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have recently launched their new ‘Tell Us About Your Care’ partnerships with a number of national charities, of which Disability Rights UK is one. This involves Disability Rights UK gathering feedback from disabled people about their experiences of using health and social care services. The CQC would welcome feedback on your experience of using any of the services they regulate. Please click here to do so.


If you are a social care user you could receive funding as a personal budget to enable you to buy your own services and support. Receiving a personal budget/direct payment enables you to choose the services which you want to use. This gives you more choice, independence, control and flexibility. You can get help with managing your personal budget and access relevant information through brokerage and advocacy services. Local support brokers can provide one-to-one support or additional continuous support for those who need it, or support by phone, or online. Having a broker to help you manage you personal budget can help make the process a lot easier.

Brokers support people of various disabilities and health conditions and long term illnesses. The broker goes through different stages of training. He is normally up-to-date with the changes of the social care system and welfare system. A broker uses their experience to help you source the best support solutions available to achieve maximum independence. Your broker encourages you to participate in decision making with the aim of you having outcome-based meetings. You will be given time to think and express your opinion on decisions aimed at planning for the short term, long term, as well as contingency plans. Your broker acts as a neutral person avoiding giving a personal opinion and acts as a mediator in resolving problems that may occur with other service providers.

As well as understanding your disability, needs and culture, brokers have the latest knowledge to make use of the best resources currently available to match with your own personal and financial circumstances. A broker’s duty is to make you feel valued and confident in decision making. In addition, your broker can liaise with your own personal support network (which could include family, friends, service providers, and local funding agencies) to help you plan and manage your support solutions.

Those who access brokerage services are more likely to get better services. There is more chance for a support/action plan to be approved by social services if you get assistance from a broker who has specialist expertise in this field. Your broker can support you in writing a self-directed action plan that suits your personal circumstances. A good broker considers your whole situation, including your cultural needs. Your broker will work with you to plan how to achieve your goal of suitable independent support. They will encourage you to be creative and have a broad thinking concept in getting this support met. If you are a self-funders you can also buy services from brokers.

Brokers can set up their own limited companies or operate as sole traders. They can work independently or in connection with Disabled People Organizations (DPO) or User Led Organizations (ULO). You will find several DPO/ULO do offer brokerage services as well as advocacy services. Sometimes councils have contracts with brokers from DPO/ULOs to undertake support planning with the service user. Please get in touch with your local council or DPO/ULO for further information on how to get the contact details of your local brokerage service. You can find your local DPO/ULO at NHS Choices independent living centre and user led organisations database at http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Support-for-independent-living/LocationSearch/386

You may decide to use some of your community care funding to purchase services from a broker to enable them to write a support plan, allocate resources, access different services and even set up and manage a direct payment to meet your needs. A broker’s fees are paid from the direct payments budget if you get your care money from social services. If you want to use your personal budget to employ a personal assistant (PA) to help you to live independently in your own home or buy care from an agency or do various things during the day, a broker can help you to make the right decision to get the care or other services that best meet your needs.


A broker can support you in:

  • Writing a person centred support plan
  • Preparing a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound (SMART) action plan
  • Identifying indicative costs of implementing the support plan
  • Managing the personal budget
  • Planning and managing the right support for you
  • Writing a contingency planning that reflects your  personal preferences
  • Exploring solutions to emergency events
  • Getting a more personalised service
  • Liaising and negotiating with the service providers
  • Arranging the support and care services
  • Clarifying your needs and goals
  • Identifying and applying for various government and non-government funding sources
  • Identifying and accessing community resources

Remember that although a broker can do all the above it is you who finally decides what you want them to do.

When assisting you to manage your personal budget, your broker may be required to support you in:

  • Inducting, interviewing and recruiting staff / PA’s
  • Drafting contracts of employment for PA’s
  • Ensuring that direct payments funding is being used on items approved in the support plan
  • Helping you to keep records of how the budget is being used and spent
  • Opening a separate bank account to access funding
  • Filling in payroll forms and PA’s timesheets
  • Liaising with insurance companies and Keeping record of insurance certificate
  • Liaising with payroll/accountants’ services
  • Resolving problems that may arise with the management of your personal budget (as instructed by you and as per your wishes)

You can find further information on brokerage and training on the website of the National Brokerage Network by visiting: www.nationalbrokeragenetwork.org.uk.

Where can I get more help or information?

For further help and information please contact our Advice Line - 0330 995 0404.

You can get more information about where to get personal advice from our Factsheet F15 - Getting advice. All our factsheets are free to download on our website at disabilityrightsuk.org. We have a number of independent living factsheets.

5 November 2013

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