Care services minister Ivan Lewis warned social care staff to expect a backlash against personal budgets and possible headlines about alleged misuse of public money.
He urged more than 500 delegates at the General Social Care Council annual conference to “face down” the “forces of conservatism”, and press ahead with transforming the social care landscape.
“This is one of the most radical reforms of policy ever undertaken by any government,” he said. “Pioneers and radicals will always provoke backlash. There will always be forces of conservatism that say ‘this is anarchy’, letting people determine their own lives with personal budgets.”
Although personalisation offered greater choice to individuals, service users would continue to require close support from practitioners – particularly in order to safeguard vulnerable adults, Lewis said.
He said that advocacy skills must be developed
“The challenge will be in striking a balance between protecting vulnerable adults and giving people freedom to determine their own lives.”
There may be challenging times ahead, Lewis said, but he urged practitioners to remember the foundations on which the Putting People First agenda is built: “Giving people the right to dignity and self-determination – what most of you came into social work to do”.