The cost-effectiveness of individual budgets will carry equal weight to their impact on service user experience in an evaluation which should determine whether the government pursues the policy.
The Department of Health-funded evaluation will examine the 13 individual budget pilots to gauge their impact on cost, user experience, providers and councils. It will report in spring 2008.
Project leader Professor Caroline Glendinning, of York University, said she had been assured by the DH that the evaluation would “determine the future”, despite ministers’ repeated trumpeting of the policy.
She said the costs of individual budgets, in terms of support to users and training for staff, would be a key factor in the evaluation.