Supporting those with personal budgets

You are more likely to be satisfied with the support you receive if you get a personal budget (PB) or Direct Payment (DP) rather than a council organised day or home care. This supports the popular and Government led drive to increase the use of personal budgets.

However, if you delve in the results from the survey of adult social care users, a different story emerges. People in residential care are actually the most satisfied with the services they receive and they score highest on most of the questions answered, going against common perceptions.

But the real surprise is that people receiving council organised day care or home care are more likely to say they have adequate control over their daily lives compared to people using personal budgets or Direct Payments. Remember, the whole point of PBs and DPs is that they are meant to give people more control.

Furthermore, people in day care are more likely to have desired levels of social contact than holders of personal budgets or Direct Payments. They are also more likely to be spending time doing they want to. The question is how can you read these results and still assert that day care centres were ok for the 1950s, but people have moved on and want something different in the 21st century.

One answer I heard was that day care centres have moved on too, and are radically different from what they were like in the 1950s. Another possibility is that the value of personal budgets people are receiving does not allow them to purchase services similar to what they were getting from the council. One council recently offered a personal budget of £700 p/a when previously they were providing 12 weeks of residential nursing care, which would cost at least £7000.

I put the results from the survey to Paul Burstow MP (Minister for Care Services), asking how we should reflect upon these. I wondered whether they would knock his confidence in the benefits of people having a personal budget. They didn’t. His explanation for the results was that there needs to be greater choice of support providers meaning personal budget holders would have more choice about what they do with their PB and would therefore lead to improvements in satisfaction, levels of control and doing what you want to be doing.

My own opinion is that there is something in all three answers, but it has led me to believe that people must still have the opportunity to take part in group activities such as day clubs and that we must work harder to support those with personal budgets.

What do you think?



October 18, 2011 - Posted by | Budget, Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. DP’s PB’s The problem is that the people who work for councils con’t understand them,and so can’t give a satisfactory explanation about the system to their ‘clients’.There are so many discrepancies from council to council.I know of carers who have received Direct Payments for themselves and other carers say their council say they don’t exist.We’ve no chance until everyone sings off the same hymnsheet.

    Comment by Terry | October 18, 2011 | Reply

  2. 1. Social care staff don’t understand the system and can’t explain it accurately. Most local politicians can’t, either.
    2. I was at a meeting the other day where a social worker said that if the personal budget isn’t enough to meet the need, the service user has to top up the amount – I pointed out that this was completely unlawful under community care legislation, and it turned into a “meaningful discussion” (political speak for one h**l of a disagreement).
    3. Most of the cuts are falling on the ones least able to defend themselves – and the personalisation agenda has been used, cynically, to push through the cuts at the front line.
    4. It would be interesting to know how many authorities are treating advocacy as a “universal” service – it certainly is not happening here.

    Comment by charles47 | October 20, 2011 | Reply

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