Personalisation: older people are losing out

Older people are likely to receive less funding for personal budgets than younger service users with similar needs, Community Care LIVE delegates heard.

The systems used to determine personal budgets had an “in-built discrimination” against older people, said social care consultant Melanie Henwood at a session on personalisation.

One delegate claimed that some older people received “as little as half” as much funding as younger people under the system.

The Equality Bill, which will ban age discrimination in the provision of goods and services, is expected to deal with the problem, when enacted.

A Department of Health-commissioned report last year found it would cost £2bn a year to implement the ban in adult social care because of lower spending on older people than younger adults with similar needs.

The concerns followed last week’s personalisation survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Local Government Association, which found 5% of older people and 14% of younger adult care users received personal budgets.

Henwood also told delegates that personalisation could necessitate regulation of personal assistants. She said the “post-Baby P climate” had made practitioners and service users “terribly sensitive about risk” in the move towards personalisation.

A Community Care survey published last October found strong support among adult social workers for the registration of personal assistants in England with the General Social Care Council (

Last month’s adult social care workforce strategy announced the GSCC would consult shortly on proposals to register PAs.

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