Councils set to miss personal budgets target

Councils are on course to miss a target of moving 30% of adult social care recipients on to personal budgets by April 2011, according to a survey.

Councils are on course to miss a target of moving 30% of adult social care recipients on to personal budgets by April 2011, according to a survey.

Figures published by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Local Government Association show that there are currently about 170,000 personal budget holders, which is an increase of 77,000 on a year ago. Of these 140,000 are receiving ongoing care and support, with the rest receiving one-off services, such as adaptations.

Local authorities expect there to be 376,000 people receiving ongoing care and support on personal budgets by April 2011, which is the end of the three-year transformation programme.

This represents about 22% of all users on the basis of the government’s national indicator 130, which measures the number of service users on personal budgets, and defines about 1.5 million people in England as eligible for them.

However Jeff Jerome, national director for social care transformation, said that a third of the 1.5 million are not receiving ongoing care and support, but one-off services and this group “do not appear to be directly relevant to the offering of a personal budget”.

The survey, based on a survey of 152 councils, showed that around 950,000 people receive ongoing council-funded care and support on a weekly basis. One-in-seven of this core group are now in receipt of a personal budget, which would rise to 40% next year according to the survey.

On this basis they would meet the end-of-programme milestone to have 30% of users on personal budgets.

Jerome, who works through Adass and the LGA, said both associations were “in discussions” with the Department of Health to revise the indicator to achieve a more “realistic” basis on which to count the numbers of personal budgets.

He said: “With regard to the survey we were trying to capture realistically those people who were getting services on a weekly ongoing basis.”

Personal budget funding levels have now reached almost £900m of council expenditure with 74% of this delivered as a direct payment, the survey revealed.

It showed that 96 councils committed more than 10% of their community services budgets through a personal budget and 40 committed 20% or more of such funds.

Read Community Care and Unison’s exclusive research on the progress of the personalisation agenda.

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