Use of personal budgets leaps by nearly 40 per cent

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Wednesday 20th June 2012
Embargo: 00.01 hrs, Thursday 21st June 2012

The total number of people who use personal budgets* allocated by councils in England to agree care and support plans is estimated to be 432,349 an increase of nearly 40 per cent during 2011/2012, according to new research conducted by directors of adult social services. This means that 52.8 per cent of people eligible for personal budgets (PBs) are actually using them to arrange their care as at March 2012.

According to Sarah Pickup, President of ADASS, the number of people supported in the community as at March 31 this year was 818,700. This represents a 7.7 per cent fall on the previous years figure of 886,939 reflecting the increased use of enablement and other services designed to reduce the need for ongoing support.

This survey establishes that adult social services are moving fairly consistently and swiftly in the direction of travel set out in the Concordat between Government departments, agencies and ADASS signed in December 2007.

She added: Councils have signed up to the use of personal budgets for everyone that needs ongoing, community-based support so that there is transparency about the amount of money available to meet the needs of an individual and to ensure they have choice in how the budget is spent to meet their needs. This latest survey shows that most councils are well on the way to achieving this aim by the target date of April 2013."

Other points to emerge from the survey include:

  • More than half of people supported by community services had personal budgets. Of those supported in 2012, 39 per cent were aged 18 to 65 and 61 per cent were aged over 65.
  • The number of carers in receipt of personal budgets increased by 15 per cent to 51,191, with just under half of these provided as a one-off direct payment.  Carers accounted for 85 per cent of all one-off payments in 2011-12.
  • More councils are delivering larger numbers of personal budgets, with 58.8 per cent providing personal budgets to more than half of all people in receipt of community based services and 9 councils providing to 25 per cent or less of people in receipt of community based services.
  • The number of direct payments has remained stable overall, with a slight reduction (0.8 per cent) in those aged 18 to 64 and slight increase (1.6 per cent) in those aged 65 and over with a direct payment, while the expenditure on direct payments has increase by 30 per cent since 2011.
  • The amount spent on personal budgets in 2011-12 was £2.597 billion, 14.8 per cent of all direct spend on adult care and support services.  The amount spent on personal budgets has increased by 57 per cent since 2010-11.
  • The number of people receiving high value personal budgets has increased since 2010-11, with 45 per cent increase in personal budgets over £10,000, and 17 per cent increase in personal budgets over £5,000, while the number receiving low value personal budgets, less than £1,000, has reduced by 10.7 per cent.

For further information contact
Sarah Pickup, ADASS President, 01992 556300
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

* A personal budget is the term used to describe the amount of money that will fund a persons care and support costs. It is calculated by assessing a persons needs. It is spent in line with a support plan that has been agreed by both the person and the council. It can be either a full or a partial contribution to such costs. The person may also choose to pay for additional support on top of the budget. So the term personal budget refers to social care money.

A personal budget may be taken by an eligible person:

a) in the form of a direct (cash) payment, held directly by the person or where they lack capacity, by a suitable person

b) by way of an account held and managed by the council in line with the persons wishes i.e. to pay for community care services which are commissioned by the council, or as an account placed with a third party (provider) and called-off by the user in direct negotiation with the provider;

c) as a mixture of the above


Table 1


Number personal budgets









Table 2

Percentage of people receiving personal budgets as distributed across councils

March 2011

March 2012

Number Councils


Number Councils


0 to 25%





25 to 50%





50 to 75%





over 75%





Table 3

 Percentage of people receiving personal budgets by different value

March 2011

March 2012





less than £1,000





£1,000 to £5,000





£5,000 to £10,000





over £10,000





Editorial Notes

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.