by Blair McPherson
It has been the buzz word in social work and adult social care for at least the last three years. Personalisation was to be the vehicle for transforming Adult Social Services. The idea was simple enough - just give people who had a disability money to buy their own support services rather than have a whole industry around telling people what they could have from a very limited “take it or leave it” local authority list.
The news that a recent survey has found that social workers believe Personalisation will fail and that only a minority believe service users will benefit from individual budgets is hardly a big surprise.
Personalisation was never championed by social workers but by service user groups, politicians and senior managers. It was always in danger of over promising and under delivering all the more so now it is finance driven rather than practise led. The brave thing to do would be to retain it as an option but recognise it has been oversold and scale the whole thing back.
In reality this is what is likely to happen but not likely to be ever stated. Personalisation fits with the Tory party ideology on choice and control and it shifts service away from the public sector but giving people the money isn’t very attractive when budgets are being cut and what you’re likely to be given isn’t likely to buy you what you need never mind what you want. So targets for personalisation are likely to be quietly dropped, which is how government indicates to senior managers and local politicians that they have lost interest and moved on to something else.
Blair McPherson is author of People management in a harsh financial climate and Equipping managers for an uncertain future both published by www.russellhouse.co.uk