Experts have challenged councils struggling to implement the personalisation agenda to use new national benchmarking standards to accelerate their progress.
Personalisation “milestones”, setting out expectations of progress between now and the end of the Putting People First programme in April 2011, were issued last week by Department of Health, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Local Government Association leaders.
They follow a survey of authorities this year which, according to the letter, revealed a discrepancy between those making “substantial progress” and others “who were just starting on the change processes”.
Jon Ainger, director at the consultancy iMPOWER, said councils it was working with had demonstrated “real progress” on personalisation, but said others needed to “step up to the mark or face an environment where sizeable services cuts are the only option”.
He added: “We really hope the new milestones are used by directors of adult social care to get more momentum for their transformation projects.”
Sue Bott (right), director of the National Centre for Independent Living, welcomed the milestones, adding: “We have been somewhat frustrated by the patchiness of progress on personalisation.”
But Bott said the milestone for all councils to have 30% of users and carers on personal budgets by April 2011 should have been much more ambitious.
She said: “It entails having two systems [personal budgets and traditionally commissioned care] running alongside each other, which doesn’t work.”
However, Ainger said the interim milestone for all councils to be offering a personal budget to all new and reviewed clients by October 2010 was “pretty challenging”.
Though councils will not be monitored on the milestones this year, the Care Quality Commission is considering incorporating them into its performance assessment system for 2010-11, something which Bott said it should do.
● All new users/carers and those subject to care reviews should be offered a personal budget (October 2010).
● At least 30% of users/carers should be receiving a personal budget (April 2011).
● There should be evidence that preventive services have delivered efficiency savings (April 2011).
Expert guide to personalisation