Time to take stock and plan for action

Martin Routledge's latest blog following the Community Care and Unison survey on personalisation.

The latest Community Care/Unison survey on personalisation provides a timely piece of the jigsaw of information needed for us to take stock and plan for action.

It will soon be complemented by the final Adass survey of progress towards Putting People First goals and by the biggest survey yet of personal budget outcomes and experiences (POET) by In Control and Think Local, Act Personal.

There are many important findings from the Community Care/Unison survey; I want to focus on three:

  • A big majority of the respondents see more bureaucracy.
  • The expansion of choice and control is happening but there are some things limiting this.
  • More respondents see personal budgets ultimately benefiting people than not. The gap has narrowed slightly since last year but this is unsurprising given the current environment.

These reflect In Control's experience. They offer us reasons for optimism while showing what needs to change fast. 

I'm a fan of the Fighting Monsters blog. In a recent post this social worker eloquently described her work, showing both the possibilities of personal budgets and some frustrations of implementation, including limitations on how and where money could be used and "managed personal budgets" that look very like what went before. 

In response to a blog of my own, another social worker said: "When we had training on personalisation, we were all keen to get involved. One of our concerns was the potential slip back from support plans to old-fashioned care planning. We aim to meet practitioners about these issues - when we have performance deadlines, time limits and budgetary restraints, how do we really make this work?" 

Remove restrictions

These on-the-ground experiences of social workers point to some ways forward. 
Let's not waste money on bureaucracy. Let's help people plan support in ways that allow creative use of resources while not overburdening the process. Let's remove restrictions on how and where money can be used, since these limit efficiency. 

POET can help local people identify what they need to work on. Places like Hartlepool have worked hard to cut bureaucracy. There is learning from other places soon to be shared through Think Local, Act Personal, outlining the minimum process needed for self-directed support, with suggested models for reconfiguring support planning. 

These offer the possibility of win-wins where social workers and others can get on with their jobs, people can access and use personal budgets with much less stress, delay and limited control, and councils can avoid waste. Let's get moving!

Martin Routledge


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Last Updated : 08 June 2011. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.