Massive variations in personal budget take-up persist between councils and regions, the latest official figures show.
While 29.2% of adult care users or carers receiving community services had a personal budget in 2010-11, up from 13% in 2009-10, rates ranged from 4% in Somerset to 71% in Manchester, according to statistics published by the NHS Information Centre.
The figures suggest progress on moving people on to personal budgets is slowest in the South West, where the average uptake is 18.3%, and fastest in the North West, at 35%.
The government has set a target of 100% uptake of personal budgets by April 2013 but the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services recently warned that the target could be counterproductive and could be driving authorities to implement budgets without ensuring they delivered genuine choice and control.
However, despite today’s figures, Adass vice-president Sarah Pickup said that “there is no reason to assume that we cannot meet the target of 100% by 2013 in most places”.
“There are indeed significant variations,” she said. “Some authorities got off to a slower start than others and some will have had some specific priorities to tackle.”
Pickup added: “Personal budgets should always be the way in which we meet people’s needs as a matter of course,” she added. “If we are anywhere close to the 100% target then the strategic objective is surely achieved. If there are a few authorities that still have some work, that would not be seen as failure.”
Community Care Live