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About the Direct Payments Survey

The Direct Payments Survey is a national postal questionnaire on direct payments policies and practices which took place in Autumn 2004. This collaborative project combines the work of three multidisciplinary research teams currently involved in national studies of direct payments. The Direct Payments Survey was funded by the Department of Health, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Modernisation of Adult Social Care Initiative, and fully endorsed by the Policy Management Unit (Olderpeople and Disability) at the Department of Health.

The fundamental purpose of the survey was to systematically evaluate arrangements for direct payments support nationally, given that arrangements for direct payments support constitute a crucial part of the provision of both direct payments and direct payments support.

Information provided from the survey is being used for the following:

  • The development of a UK-wide map of resources being supplied to supporting direct payments users.
  • Assessment of the conditions necessary for the effective implementation of direct payments.
  • Exploration of the variations in the way that direct payments are structured — across the UK and between authorities sharing similar characteristics.
  • Evaluation of the impacts of variations in local direct payments policies and practices.
  • Consideration of the cost of supporting direct payment users. This includes possible explanations for variations in costs of support, including the quality and scope of the support that is being provided.
  • Identification of best practice in the provision of direct payments support.
    Quantification of the impact of variations of local resources on both levels of uptake and intensity of direct payments care provision, taking into account interrelated factors — as described above.

Questionnaires were sent to all local authorities and health and social services trusts in the UK and all organisations in the UK providing support to direct payment users.

Aside from the objectives described, the survey has also informed the work being carried out by the three different teams who also conducted follow-up telephone interviews and further case-study work in a sub-sample of Local Authorities and Direct Payment Support Organisations.


The results of the survey are published in two separate reports, available online and in print. More details here.

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