Adults in Northamptonshire who are looked after by social services, are to be given ‘debit cards’ to pay for their care.
The pre-paid cards will replace direct payment by the local authority for services such as home help, rehabilitation and transport.
Up to 14,000 adults in Northamptonshire, mostly pensioners, will eventually get the cards and they will be able to purchase anything that benefits their condition, including short holidays for them and their carer.
However the council will still stipulate what constitutes an improvement in their condition and will provide a list of suggested companies who can help.
The scheme will save the council money by cutting the money spent on administration costs.
People newly-assessed as needing county council funding will be the first to use the debit cards, and the local authority plans to switch those already helped by social services at their annual reviews.
Fears that reassessments will result in less people being supported by the council have been dismissed.
Carolyn Kus, head of adult social services, said: “Everybody who is assessed as needing our services now will still get services under this new scheme.”
The council has admitted there was a lack of appropriate companies to help vulnerable adults in the south of Northamptonshire.
But the local authority hopes that as it approves companies to provide social services , they will be attracted by the debit card cash and expand in to the south of the county.