One in four recipients of care services is now using a personal budget, new figures reveal.
Jeff Jerome, the national director for social care transformation, told delegates at the National Children’s and Adults Services Conference in Manchester yesterday that 250,000 of the one million recipients of ongoing care packages now have a personal budget.
He added that half of these were taking their budget as a direct payment.
The number of personal budget holders represents an increase of 68% since March 2010, when the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADASS), which compiled today’s figures, last surveyed councils. In March it found 170,000 people were on personal budgets.
The government expects councils to have 30% of eligible service users on personal budgets by April 2011.
Andrew Tyson, policy director at personalisation consultancy InControl, welcomed the increased uptake saying he hoped councils could now meet the demanding targets set.
However, Jeremy Cooper of iMPOWER described the government target as unambitious. Referring to today’s figures he said: “There is £450m in the social care transformation grant and still 75% of people have not got a personal budget.”
Although today’s figures show 25% of service users have a personal budget, in August this year the NHS Information Centre showed there was wide variation in the uptake of personal budgets between councils. It reported that half of councils had less than 10%, while one in eight had more than 20%. It calculated an overall uptake of 13%.
There remains some dispute over how this percentage is calculated. The Putting People First Social Care Consortium, led by Jerome, have said the national indicator used by the government and the NHS Information Centre increases the figure of eligible users by 50%, making it more difficult to meet the target.
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