Social care directors stress progress in personal budgets

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: 27th October 2010
Embargo: 00:01 HRS, October 28, 2010

ADASS President Richard Jones emphasises today, in response to an Audit Commission report*, that many councils have already made good progress in giving people who use social services their own personal budgets with which to purchase services they decide are the ones they want.

He said: We are due to see the latest survey  which will outline the position as at the end of September in the next few weeks and expect to meet our 30 per cent target of all eligible service users with ongoing care and support receiving personal budgets by the end of March next year.

Were strongly encouraging councils to work towards this and fully expect to reach 100 per cent or 1 million - of all eligible service users having a personal budget within the next 2 years. ADASS with a range of partners will be setting out a sector-wide agreement about how we move forward with the agenda of personalisation and community based support in the next few weeks.
According to ADASS, the figures quoted by the Audit Commission press release are misleading particularly in relation to the percentage of social care budgets allocated to a personal budget. Previous ADASS survey results show that of the one million people receiving regular, ongoing social care services, 168,000 had a personal budget in March 2010. As we are now six months further down the track, we anticipate a significant increase in numbers as councils mainstream personalisation, according to Richard Jones.

He added: The Audit Commission report highlights some of the challenges councils face. There is, for example, a real issue around approaches to people with mental health needs. This isnt just about pooled  budgets , but about getting the behaviour change and approach adopted within services that are often integrated in specialist mental health trusts We fully support the overall direction towards making personal budgets the mainstream approach for all citizens."

A spokesperson for the National Director for Social care Transformation added
 Some councils are showing how personalisation can help improve the way they commission and manage the market, leading to people having more choice and control than under previous arrangements such as block contracts.

We have put together advice based on learning from councils around the country, which will help councils with the challenges highlighted by the Audit Commission - this is published on www.puttingpeoplefirst.org.uk

There will be more material coming out at the National Children And Adults Services conference next month and the consortium will also be publishing  material to help councils deliver personalisation at the same time as achieving efficiencies.

For further information contact:
Richard Jones, ADASS President, 01772 534390
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755
Jaimee Lewis, Strategic Communications Adviser, Putting People First, 07867 857514
* Financial Management of Personal Budgets, Audit Commission, October 2010

* The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.
`Personalisation' is a term used to describe a number of ways in which vulnerable adults and their carers can receive a mixture of local authority and government money in order to pay directly for the care services they need without direct social services involvement.
They will be helped in making an assessment of their needs and finances by social workers who will also involve and consider the needs and availability of carers. Any contractual agreement is therefore between the individual and the care worker or operator.
The government has urged local authorities to prioritise the roll-out of individual budgets. A National Director for Social Care Transformation was appointed in September 2008 to contribute to the development of personalised services.