Practitioners back personalisation but call for more support

Adult social workers and managers believe personalisation will benefit users but it needs more money, training, guidance, and engagement from the NHS.

That was the message from an exclusive Community Care survey of more than 400 readers working in councils, done in partnership with the Department of Health and the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

The results are being showcased at today’s conference on personalisation, organised by the partnership to mark the end of the first year of the three-year Putting People First programme to personalise adult care and support in England.

Backing for personal budgets

Two-thirds of respondents felt personal budgets will benefit people over the medium to long-term while two-thirds rated the helpfulness of advice, information and advocacy services in their councils as very or quite good.

Overall, progress on personalisation was variable with just under a quarter saying a fully integrated personalisation strategy had been implemented or nearly completed, with one fifth saying it was still at an early stage, while more than a half were starting to plan changes.

Need for more money

More money was seen as the most important factor in making a success of personalisation, with 27% of respondents citing this. By the same token, 33% saw a lack of resources as the main barrier to implementation.

Over half (56%) also said current personalisation guidance was insufficient and almost half (46%) said they were not receiving enough training.

While respondents felt there was strong engagement in delivering personalisation from senior council managers and adult social services, they identified far less commitment from the NHS and other council departments.

Lack of NHS engagement

Almost half (47%) felt engagement from the NHS was low or non-existent, with 37% identifying a lack of engagement from council departments other than adult social care.

The DH and Scie welcomed the results. A DH spokesperson said: “We realise the need for frontline staff to receive the training they need and would urge councils to make sure they provide it.”

New AssetScie chief executive Julie Jones said “It is encouraging to see that most of the respondents understand the long-term benefits of offering people greater choice and control and are starting to plan and make changes accordingly. But we also understand why there is still a need to find information about good practice and share it widely between local authorities and independent providers.”

She said the institute would continue to address the barriers to personalisation and share evidence of what works.

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