In Control has just sent through a submission to the
pre-legislative scrutiny committee on the Care and Support Bill,
being chaired by former minister Paul Burstow. (See below).
This is our second submission - you wait for one submission and
then two come along together! The previous one earlier
in the week was with a group of partners and concentrated on
changes needed to shift attention and action to helping shift from
what is in effect a crisis driven social care system
The new submission is very much focussed on personal budgets and
self-directed support. We have concentrated on this because we are
increasingly worried about delivery of PBs that doesn't follow the
key principles of self-directed support. In her pre-Christmas blog Julie
Stansfield gave just a couple of examples of daft local practice
that restrict creative efficient approaches but these are
unfortunately all too common now. Though of course policy and
legislation of themselves cannot guarantee good delivery we should
look to use the Bill and associated regulations and guidance to
lever as much of a shift in the right direction as possible.
The positive news is that we are increasingly clear - through
the use of POET and
other evidence such as the personal health budgets evaluation -
what leads to the best results. Professor Chris Hatton of Lancaster
University summarises :
For all groups of people using personal budgets (including
older people) better outcomes are robustly associated with an
experience of personal budgets that conforms to the underlying
principles of the personal budget process:
- getting a personal budget in a form where the person can
- knowing what their personal budget is,
- having a budget adequate for the person's needs,
- getting helpful support (with input from family and/or
friends) to design a meaningful support plan,
- and getting support to guide the person through every
aspect of the personal budget process.
Also important are:
- Local communities with the capability to support the person
in using their personal budget meaningfully,
- Personal budgets being delivered in ways that make the
person feel secure in their access to their personal budget, and
where the local authority operates in ways that are transparent,
fair and predictable to the person and their supporters.
A very significant finding of the National Personal Budgets
Survey was the big differences between councils' delivery
practice. We have to conclude that if some can do it properly,
gaining the win-wins of lean process, reduced bureaucracy, better
experience and improved outcomes - others can too. One problem is
that still too few councils are regularly checking the results and
comparing with others - even though very simple low cost, low
administration approaches like POET are readily available.
Councils should be checking PB results as part of using the
Think Local Act Personal Making it Real markers and
including learning and action in their Local Accounts.
So - though we are not kidding ourselves that the Bill on its
own can transform this situation, it really does need to send a
message to the sector to do personal budgets properly and provide
guidance to drive this.