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Understanding Direct Payment Agreements (DPAs) in the UK: A Payroll Guide

Direct Payment Agreements (DPAs) in the UK offer individuals more control and flexibility over their care services by allowing them to manage their own budgets. For those receiving social care, DPAs empower them to select and pay for their preferred services directly, rather than relying solely on local authorities or agencies. This newfound independence comes the responsibility of managing payroll effectively. By the end of this guide, you will have a better understanding of DPAs and navigating payroll for the affected person:

What are DPAs?

DPAs are arrangements where individuals receive funds from their local authority to purchase and manage their own care and support services. This gives them the freedom to tailor their care to their specific needs and preferences.

Who is eligible for DPAs?

Eligibility for DPAs is determined by local authorities based on an assessment of an individual's care needs. Those who are eligible include older adults, people with disabilities, and individuals with ongoing long-term care requirements such as chronic related health issues or those who require mental health support.

What are the Benefits of DPAs?

DPAs give you a greater choice and control over the type and quality of care received. Not only that but it can give you the flexibility to hire personal assistants or choose service providers. It also gives you the additional benefit of arranging care at the times that suit individual schedules.


While DPAs offer autonomy, recipients are responsible for managing their budgets, adhering to legal requirements, and ensuring quality care provision.

How to manage payroll for DPAs

While DPAs offer autonomy, recipients are responsible for managing their budgets, adhering to legal requirements, and ensuring quality care provision.

Register as an Employer

When individuals take on the management of Direct Payment Agreements (DPAs), they transition into the role of employers as they hire personal assistants. As part of this process, they are required to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and establish a payroll system. This is a service that Pay Check can conveniently handle for you.

Calculating Pay

Determine the pay rate for personal assistants based on factors such as experience, duties, and industry standards. Always ensure compliance with National Minimum Wage regulations.

Record Keeping

Maintain accurate records of hours worked, pay rates, and any deductions for tax and National Insurance contributions. Use payroll software or templates to streamline record-keeping processes.

Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs)

You must deduct income tax and NICs from the personal assistants' wages as required by law. Timely submissions and payments of taxes must be made to HMRC.


Personal assistants may be eligible for a workplace pension scheme. It is the responsibility of the employers to evaluate eligibility and enrol qualified employees into an appropriate pension scheme. This is another task that Pay Check is equipped to manage on your behalf.

Employment Contracts

Provide personal assistants with written employment contracts outlining terms and conditions of employment, including pay rates, working hours, and holiday entitlements.

Stay Informed

It's important that you keep up to date with the latest changes to payroll legislation and regulations to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties.

To conclude, Direct Payment Agreements empower individuals to take charge of their care services, offering freedom, flexibility, and personalised support. Effective payroll management is essential for ensuring smooth operations and compliance with legal obligations. By understanding DPAs and implementing sound payroll practices, recipients can maximise the benefits of self-directed care while maintaining financial and legal integrity.

Our clients want an attentive, personal service from us. We also know that they will expect this to be underpinned with absolute professionalism and up to the minute knowledge and expertise.

If you require further guidance, Pay Check have been providing specialist payroll services since 1996. Our team of dedicated UK payroll experts are always happy to give you expert advice on your payroll operations and how you can streamline and optimise your payroll.


Written by

Mark Sapsford
Pay Check
+44 (0) 20 7866 4600