Legislation to give disabled people a ‘right to control’ government funding allocated to them must require agencies to integrate funding streams if it is to succeed.
That was the message from Liz Sayce, chief executive of disability network Radar, and Paul Davies, director of adult services at Oldham Council, in evidence to a committee of MPs examining the Welfare Reform Bill last week.
The Bill includes provisions which would enable disabled people to receive direct payments in areas where they are currently not available including employment support services and further and higher education, in order to give them a ‘right to control’ their support.
Both Sayce and Davies, whose council accounts for one-fifth of all service users on individual budgets, said this would be undermined by the existence of multiple funding streams, each with their own assessment criteria.
Sayce said Radar would be seeking advice on pursuing amendments to the bill requiring the pooling of budgets across social care, health and the service areas covered by the Bill, while Davies backed a duty to co-operate on agencies providing services for disabled people.
The evaluation of the individual budgets pilots, published last October, found staff experienced significant barriers to integrating funding streams, due to different eligibility criteria, resource allocation systems and accountability.