Every council in England is now under starter’s orders in the race to give service users their own personal budgets. The government’s stopwatch is ticking and the expectation is that by 2011 every locality will have a system in place for self-directed support, even if not all users are taking advantage of it by then.
The scale of change required is enormous. Encouraging results from In Control’s survey published today should not disguise the fact that the project covers just 3,500 users out of a million-plus. While some councils have risen to the challenge of personalisation, others are more reluctant.
Since many questions still need answers, no one should blame them for their caution. Where will it leave practitioners? What is the impact on costs? What about users who don’t want to manage their own care? The IB evaluations due next month will provide some of the answers, but much will depend on strong local leadership and the willingness to take a courageous leap of faith.
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