Councils on track for 2013 target of personal budgets for all

Councils are on track to meet the government's target of having all service users on personal budgets by 2013, a survey has found.

Councils are on track to meet the government’s target of having all service users on personal budgets by 2013, a survey has found.

Ninety-seven per cent of authorities say they are on course to meet the target, which applies to users of ongoing council-funded support, found the survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

Released for this week’s National Children and Adult Services (NCAS) Conference, the survey found 40% of councils already had 60% of users on personal budgets and three athorities were on course to reach the 100% mark by the end of 2011-12.

The target was set in last year’s government vision for adult social care.

“The findings suggest that the [vision] has given the sector the autonomy and confidence to lay the foundations of creative, varied local practice and sector-led improvement on personalisation by councils, some of which has the potential to be scaled up and transferred,” said Adass. “The sector will now need to look at how it supports the transfer of good practice across local government.”

The government envisages that most personal budget holders will be receiving a direct payment by 2013.  However in 2010-11 most of the growth in personal budgets came in the form of council-managed budgets.

Adass’s latest survey found that councils were proactively promoting direct payments to increase numbers.

However, it also found that some councils were struggling to extend brokerage and advocacy services to self-funders and recommended that more work needed to be done on extending these services.

In his speech to the conference today, Adass president Peter Hay will acknowledge that councils “have a long way still to go in creating an information and support offer to all”.

But he will say: “We have implemented a whole new model for care – moving away from the tight constraints of a system set solely by eligibility, to one that includes enablement and prevention. Within this model councils are pushing further – ideas like enablement running through the lifetime of care, payment by outcomes, and rewarding those who minimise reliance on care.”

Six councils either did not respond, or did not provide sufficient information to allow for further deductive analysis.

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