Personalisation pilots face a cultural ethos challenge

The official evaluation of the individual budget pilots, due to be published this summer, has found there are significant problems with implementing the scheme for older people and those with a mental illness.

Zoe Porter, deputy national programme manager for personalisation at the Care Services Improvement Partnership, said the pilots had been generally successful in terms of the experiences of those getting support.

However, she added: “There were challenges around trying to get it to work for older people, because of the culture of older people’s services and the expectations of older people of how they want care to be presented.”

She said there were also problems concerning mental health, where “it has been really tough to try and explain it to mental health teams” and that money had been an issue in this area because most funding was tied to health care.

Porter said the pilots had also had major problems with funding streams. “It was incredibly challenging, particularly around bringing together the different funding streams – because the legislation is hamstrung.”

But she added that Supporting People budgets had been particularly useful in some of the pilots. The evaluation is being peer reviewed by academics.

The details emerged at a Community Care conference last week on personalised care in adult services, attended by hundreds of social care professionals.

CSIP national programme manager for personalisation Martin Routledge told delegates the evaluation had shown there were major problems with IT systems. He also said the evaluation would take a “particular look at careers issues”, and that care services minister Ivan Lewis was keen to “engage with workforce unions on these issues”.

The conference also heard that any extension of individual budgets to health care was waiting on the conclusions of an NHS review by Professor Lord Ara Darzi, but that West Midlands strategic health authority has started work on piloting individual budgets in health.

CSIP will be launching a personalisation toolkit at the beginning of next month for councils, based on the experiences of the pilots and to help with the transformation of services for personalisation.

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