Pilots find self-directed services save money

Self-directed support for people with learning difficulties can be achieved using existing resources, according to an unpublished evaluation of the In Control pilots which was presented to delegates.

Carl Poll, head of publications at In Control, said that while evidence showed the scheme could save money, it should not be used as a cost-cutting measure.

In Control is an umbrella organisation, which includes Mencap and the Department of Health, campaigning for people with learning difficulties to control and direct their own support.
Poll said current funding for learning difficulties was “fantastically wasteful” when it was spent on services such as out-of-area placements with “no quality of life”.

The 18-month evaluation of the pilots highlighted a case where a person who previously had funding of 114,000 for an “unsatisfactory” placement moved to self-directed support with an allocation of 60,000.

Caroline Tomlinson, manager of learning difficulties organisation Embrace, based in Wigan and Leigh, and carer of a disabled son with learning difficulties who took part in the pilot, said: “In Control is not about saving money, but about raising the quality of people’s lives.”

Poll said the evaluation of the pilots was currently being discussed with the DH.

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