Scotland legislates to give users right to personal budget

Service users will have the right to a personal budget but will also be able to leave their care management in the hands of their local authority, under legislation issued by the Scottish government today.

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Service users will have the right to a personal budget but will also be able to leave their care management in the hands of their local authority, under legislation issued by the Scottish government today.

The Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Bill would make Scotland the first UK country to enshrine personalisation in law at the heart of the care system.

But it would differ from the approach taken in England, where the government wants to place all eligible service users on personal budgets so they can direct their own support by 2013, whether taken as a direct payment or as a budget administered by the council or as a mixture of the two.

In Scotland, service users would have these three options but would also have a fourth option, under which the council would commission support for the individual, who would not have direct or ongoing involvement in deciding how the resources are used, but would be fully consulted on decisions.

Councils would be under a duty to offer service users all four options and would have to give effect to the user’s choice unless it is clear that this would result in needs not being met or where regulations prescribed certain individuals or types of support were ineligible for direct payments.

The bill, which applies to children and adults, would also give service users the right to be fully involved in assessments, to obtain information and advice to help them direct their own support and to collaborate in producing their support plan with professionals.

The legislation was widely welcomed by social care user groups, providers and charities.

The bill was “an important step on the journey to putting every person in control of the support they need to live the life of their choice,” said Peter Scott, chief executive of learning disability charity ENABLE Scotland.

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