The proportion of service users and carers on personal budgets in England has doubled in the past year but there are wide variations between councils, figures published today show.
The NHS Information Centre said 13% of disabled adults, older people and carers who used community services were receiving personal budgets in 2009-10, up from 6.7% in 2008-9.
The finding reflects a survey earlier this year by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Local Government Association, which found an 83% rise in the proportion of personal budget holders in the 12 months to March 2010.
Councils in England are expected to have 30% of service users on personal budgets by next March, under targets agreed by Adass, the LGA and the Department of Health. Adass and the LGA said councils were on course to meet this target for people who receive ongoing support, but not if people who receive short-term support were included in the figure.
However, the figures also showed wide variations in rates of personal budgets between councils, ranging from 3.3% in Somerset to 58.7% in Manchester. Half of councils had less than 10% of eligible users and carers on personal budgets, while one in eight had over 20%.
Other findings showed:
• Employment rates fell from 6.8% to 6.4% for working-age adults with learning disabilities known to social services, from 2008-9 to 2009-10.
• Moves to promote independent living for learning disabled people appear to have gone backwards. A smaller proportion of working-age adults (61%, down from 64.5%) was living in “settled accommodation”, such as adult placements, supported housing or living permanently with family, as opposed to care homes, nursing homes or NHS settings.
• There have been improvements in keeping at home older people discharged from hospital; 81.2% of those discharged home were still there after three months, up from 78.2%
• More carers receive carer-specific services (26.4%, up from 23.1%), when taken as a proportion of service users who recieve community-based support,
• Waiting times for social services assessments have improved, with 81.3% waiting four weeks or fewer, up from 79.8%.