Adult social care chief Behan says ‘enthuse over personalisation’

    Enthusiastic attitudes of social workers towards personalisation will be the key to successful reform, the government’s adult social care chief said today.

    David Behan, director general for social care at the Department of Health, told social services directors that a positive workforce commitment would be crucial in preventing a backlash against the radical changes planned for the next three years.

    Speaking at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services spring seminar in Cheshire, he urged directors to engage front-line staff and ensure they were fully briefed on all aspects of the new and innovative systems.

    This would help prevent any scepticism that could creep in when personalisation begins to take shape.

    “Some people would look at it and say ‘it’s a good idea but it won’t work here,’” Behan said, “and users might have a negative reaction”.

    Personal budgets

    Under the banner of Putting People First, the £520m programme will encourage early intervention and give individuals the freedom to spend personal budgets on the care they need.

    Behan said the first self-assessment forms were available online, and further ‘toolkits’ would be released over the next 12 months.

    Although the headline-grabbing initiatives centred on personal care budgets and individuals, the director general reminded directors that “communities and families” were at the heart of the policy.

    “It’s as much about community development and social capital as it is about personal budgets,” he said.“I would encourage you to reflect on the need for inter-generational work.”

    Radical reforms

    Implementation of such radical reforms would present major challenges, Behan said, but directors could set their own milestones in order to measure progress.

    “Every change will look like failure in the middle [of the process],” he said. “We need to be strong and resilient to see this through.”

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