Councils are making good progress in personalising adult social care services but workforce development is lagging behind, according to a survey of English authorities published this week.
The survey, conducted by the Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, measured council progress over the first year of the government’s three-year scheme to personalise care.
Almost 93,000 people were recieving personal budgets on 31 March, and this is expected to rise to 206,000 by next March. But councils’ spending on personal budgets varied widely, ranging from 1% to 29% of adult social care budgets. The average was 5%.
Advice and support
The report also showed progress on other elements of the personalisation programme, including the provision of advice and support to all users, including self-funders. More than half of councils said they provided the same level of advice to all users receiving an assessment, including those ineligible for state funding, with a further 44% moving towards this target.
But the findings, based on responses from 148 councils, also showed that while nine out of 10 had established teams to address the changes required, just five had developed an integrated local area workforce strategy.
These are designed to ensure workforce planning takes account of the whole social care market, including the independent sector.
The survey found 141 councils were considering “significant changes” to assessment and care management arrangements. Half the councils said the changes would affect all staff, and the rest said a “significant proportion” would be affected.
The findings come after the British Association of Social Workers warned that some councils were cutting back on social workers because there were seen as “too expensive” for the personalistion era (http://www.communitycare.co.uk/111172).
In response to the report, BASW raised concerns over whether councils were focusing on raising the number of people receiving personal budgets at the expense of workforce planning.
Ruth Cartwright, BASW officer for England, claimed councils were “putting quantity over quality”.
National director for social care transformation Jeff Jerome said councils were expected to increase numbers on personal budgets. The adult workforce strategy would help improve workforce planning, he said, adding that he was surprised at how many councils were considering care management reforms.
Putting People First: Measuring Progress from http://www.adass.org.uk