Stuart Cameron-Strickand, Head of Policy Performance and
Improvement for Adult Social Care, Leeds City Council writes this
blog post for us on how POET is being used in Leeds.
Personal budgets make such a difference to an individual's life
and are a key priority for Adult Social Care in Leeds. It is
essential however, to take stock of how well we're doing not only
against national performance levels but, against our local targets
Working with In Control and the team at Lancaster University, we
were offered the opportunity to review our activity and what more
could be done to encourage greater uptake of personal budgets - the
POET survey. Of course we jumped at the chance to do this not only
to see how we've done so far but, more importantly, to see what we
need to do in the future.
With regards to the findings, Leeds has made progress by
increasing the number of people using personal budgets and seeing
the benefits that personal budgets can bring to their lives. From
feedback we have received at our engagement events, the results
showed that we still have work to do and need to engage with as
many people as possible.
A wide variety of stakeholders including service users, carers,
personal assistants, providers and social workers took part in our
engagement even. They told us how personal budgets can work better;
what we're doing well (the good) and what we could do better. This
was the great value of this event and I'm grateful for everyone who
contributed to the discussion. It really was a powerful insight
from so many different perspectives.
Personal budgets and having choice and control over services
received, really works for an individual when they feel involved in
the decision making process. It's about taking that control to
decide what's right for them and having ownership of their own
lives. One important message that I took from our event was that
people want to live their life the way they want and need to know
that help and advice, when needed, is at hand to help them
understand what services are available or to find their way through
We need to make sure the process is clearer across the board and
help people get the support that lets them live their lives their
way. By working together, we can make Leeds a better place for
someone who has care and support needs.
For me, what became very clear is that this is not just an Adult
Social Care responsibility. If we can all champion personal
budgets, whether as a social worker, carer, provider or even as
someone who's using the service, we can increase
the uptake. This partnership working and joint accountability can
and will make all the difference.
A really valid suggestion from the audience was to have a
steering group to ensure that the realistic suggestions were acted
on and progressed. We asked for volunteers and now have
representation from all areas including social workers, carers,
providers and service users. The broad intention is for this group
to track improvements in our jointly agreed approach, we will offer
an experienced perspective of what can be resolved and how, with
the support of Adult Social Care. Engaging with those at the front
line offers us a far greater and realistic insight into what can
really be done to increase the uptake of personal budgets for those
using services in Leeds.
I can see personal budgets are helping local people to live the
lives they want. We are taking a step in the right direction
but there is still a long way to go. We will benefit from citizens,
communities and health and social care agencies working together to
ensure everyone can lead a better life.
Personal budgets work. I've witnessed first-hand the impressive
and positive impact they can have. They work on an individual basis
for the individual - that's an improvement, that's
progress and that's why I champion them. One of the service users
at the event shared how much personal budgets had changed her life
and I know this isn't an isolated case. It was humbling to hear
that and encourages me to push forward for greater personal choice
and control of services for people with care and support needs
wherever I can.
This blog is also published on the Better Lives Leeds website at
Read our other POET blog posts here.