Regional disparities found in progress on personalisation

There are wide regional variations in English councils' progress towards meeting a series of personalisation targets, a survey has found.

There are wide regional variations in English councils’ progress towards meeting a series of personalisation targets, a survey has found.

While eight of the nine East Midlands councils are very confident they will meet the “milestone” of having 30% of care users on personal budgets by April 2011, just four of the 15 South West councils are similarly confident.

The findings come from an Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Local Government Association survey of progress on the second year of Putting People First, the 2008-11 Department of Health programme to personalise care.

The five milestones – the others cover commissioning, working with service users, prevention and providing information – were published last year by the DH, Adass and the LGA, setting expectations of progress for the final 18 months of Putting People First.

The survey also found that, nationally, councils were on course to miss the 30% milestone for personal budgets for all service users. However, when only users receiving ongoing care and support are considered, the target is likely to be met.

Andrew Cozens, the Local Government Association’s strategic lead for adult social care, said differences in councils’ progress reflected different approaches to personalisation.

For instance, he said some had made slower progress on personal budgets because they had “got bogged down” in setting up resource allocation systems, which determine the value of personal budgets.

Overall, least progress had been made on the milestone on prevention and cost-effective services, with 17% of councils saying they were “fairly unlikely” to meet it by April 2011.

The milestone states that councils should have evidence that strategies to shift care from acute to preventive services had released savings overall, and that the costs and benefits of the strategies had been apportioned across the whole system of care, including the NHS.

Again, there were regional variations in progress, with eight of the 14 West Midlands councils, but just one of the 12 North East councils, saying they were “very likely” to meet the milestone.

Read the full results.

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

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