The catch-all term used to encapsulate the government’s new agenda for adult social care. Described by the Department of Health as being an approach in which “every person who receives support, whether provided by statutory services or funded by themselves, will have choice and control over the shape of that support in all care settings.”
Cash payments given to service users in lieu of community care services they have been assessed as needing
An allocation of funding given to users after an assessment, which should be sufficient to meet their assessed needs. Users can either take their personal budget as a direct payment, or – while still choosing how their care needs are met and by whom – leave councils with the responsibility to commission the services. Or they can take have some combination of the two.
Individual budgets differ from personal budgets in covering a multitude of funding streams, besides adult social care: Supporting People, Disabled Facilities Grant, Independent Living Funds, Access to Work and community equipment services.
Individual budget pilots
Individual budget pilots in 13 councils were announced in November 2005. The pilots are geographically spread, with some covering a wide range of client groups and others covering just one or two. The pilots are also being evaluated by a team from the Personal Social Services Research Unit, York University’s social policy research unit and King’s College London’s social care workforce research unit. At a Community Care conference in April 2008, Zoe Porter, deputy national programme manager for personalisation at CSIP, said the pilots had been a success but there had been significant challenges bringing funding streams together and in relation to older people’s and mental health services.
In Control is a charity that believes in the innate dignity of all human beings and the vital importance of everyone being ablee to play their full part in the community as active citizens. In order to achieve this mission, In Control believes that we will need to find ways of reforming the welfare state in order to make it easier for people to make the most of their lives.
As the personalisation agenda advances, the role of advocacy and support brokerage will be of increasing importance. If personalisation is to achieve its core aims, it will be essential that those accessing individualised budgets can refer to sources of advice and support. Support brokers will help service users work out what services are needed, find the right provider and get things going. That’s where brokers can help – but no-one is yet sure exactly who or what they are. Should they work with users to draw up care plans, or just find good deals in the marketplace? Is there a role for them in making sure new arrangements are working? And what training and accreditation requirements will ensure a competent workforce without making the process too difficult for those doing the work casually?
Self-assessment will be a cornerstone of personalisation. It will give service users the opportunity to assess their own care and support needs and decide how their individual budgets are spent are central planks of the agenda.
The idea that forms the basis of personalisation – that service users are the ones who know their own needs best and what services might best meet them. See also self assessment.
Putting People First
Putting People First is the culmination of a policy process that began in 2005, with the adult social care green paper, Independence, Well-being and Choice, and was developed through the 2006 health and social care white paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say. Councils will be expected to significantly increase the number of people receiving direct payments and roll out a system of personal budgets for all users of adult social care, from 2008-11. In the long-term all users should have a personal budget from which to pay for their social care services, apart from in emergencies.
Vital web linksPersonalisation: threat or opportunity?