Coming soon...The RAS Challenge

Making resource allocation systems (RAS) simpler and more and transparent is critical to the success of personalisation.

The issue of the RAS continues to be of great concern aross the sector and with personal budget users and carers.

The transpaernt, early allocation of resources is key to personalisation working well. Without this transparency and openness, personalisation is in danger of being merely another policy reform where little really changes.

Our fear is that a combination of the dire resource situations councils face and frustrations with complex RAS' may lead to some councils throwing the baby out with the bath water. We need to reform - not scrap the RAS. Abandoning the principe of people knowing what money is in their budget is likely to seriously undermine the sharing of power that is at the heart of personalisation.

In Control has worked for a decade trying to help local authorities to be bold in their personalisation strategies but RAS has proved to be one of the hardest challenges of all. This is why we have decided to launch a RAS challenge in the autumn. We will be inviting councils that understand the need to retain the core principles of self-directed support to work with us to develop new RAS approaches. We will be using a simple ready reckoner matrix to produce an indicative budget linked to set funding levels that people can plan within.

Going forward we believe three key principles are vital:

  1. Transparency: The RAS methodology must be in the public domain at a community level.
  2. Simplicity: The process must be simple and the individual and their family must know how the decision was reached for them.
  3. Sufficiency: The local authority must publish clearly the outcomes they will support people to achieve and the budget must be enough to reasonably achieve these.

If you are interested in finding out more about the RAS challenge, email us at

2 comments for “Coming soon...The RAS Challenge”

  1. Gravatar of Heather DavidHeather David
    posted 26 July 2013 at 10:06:09

    I have long been arguing that the RAS as it stands, coupled with eligibility criteria, only produces enough budget for frail elderly people to have short episodes of "traditional" care to ensure that they can manage the tasks of daily living. There is never any left over for the "nice" stuff. This is a huge barrier to personalisation. As the overall amount of money is not going to increase and the numbers of frail elderly people needing care is going to rise, I think more emphasis should be put on how we personalise the traditional services which are going to be with us for a long while yet.

  2. Gravatar of Jan ThurlowJan Thurlow
    posted 02 August 2013 at 11:01:11

    Surely the RAS and Personalisation is at odds with each other at least it seems so in my area of Essex.

    May be I'm of the old school believing in a 'needs led' approach not a finance driven one. Yes, I know financial times are hard, but really,continual reorganisation in authorities is hardly cost free or are the layers of bureaucracy invariably far removed from the lives of disabled people or come to that the new computer systems installed at huge cost only to be found they are no good.

    I find it worrying that so many social workers are outsourced, which again comes at a price, not just the fees to agencies being paid, but the social workers do not spend enough time to get to know their client.

    I'm sure many went into social work in the first place to help disadvantaged people. Now some are offered incentives to save funds and cut care packages, at least that's what I've heard in other counties. No wonder the good ones are leaving in droves. Certainly I witnessed the work of an outsourced social worker when supporting a parent at her daughters review. I think this particular social worker would have felt happy if the young disabled woman concerned had no life and stayed in four walls every day. Her understanding and skills of what the young woman needed to have a life in her community and beyond were shameful.

    It's also pretty disgraceful when a review which began on 31st May 2012, yes 2012, is still not signed off some fifteem months later. This is absolutely true as it's my daughters. I could have made a quicker job using a calculator, pen and paper. Other families with disabled relatives locally are also experiencing the same problem. I've had it on good authority from a lawyer working in the social care field, that stringing out the reviews is a tacticle way for LA's to save funds, which I may add is all our tax payers money not just the LA's.

    My local authority has also been appallingly remiss in not increasing the PB's cash payments or direct payment rate for the past three years now nearly four years, totally ignoring the fact that there have been statutory increases imposed on those who employ PA's for their son, daughter or those who are able to employ directly themselves.

    Yes, I know there is a RAS with the indicadive amount of funding that folks have to fit their care needs into, but it always needs tweaking, because as we all know none of our needs fit neatly into tick boxes. Besides, when employing PA's you have to have an hourly rate. How time consuming, boring and costly in man power it mut be to analyse these RAS boxes. I'd rather watch paint dry.

    So can the RAS keep pace with the statutory insreases imposed on us as employers by central government every year?

    The Minimum wagehas increased annually, and will again come this autumn. In 2011 there was an extra Bank Holiday for the Royal Wedding, 2012 two extra days for the Queen's Jubilee plus increases in the Employers National Insurance contribution.

    Also we now have to give 5.6 weeks holiday to PA's which also has a cost. Managing my daughters package, has cost some £13,000+ over three years which has had to be found from a 'frozen' budget. Yet our County Cnllr representative for social care denies there is a freeze in the rate and instead suggests we must ask for a review. What planet is he on I ask?

    Even my daughter' May 2011 review did not arrive on our doormat until the day before the May 2012 one began a whole year later. Worse still the social worker had just cut and pasted information from the 2010 review onto the 2011 one even leaving in the previvous social workers name. How lazy is that, yet he was paid a salary. So what hope is there is getting a quick review if one was requested to cover these statutory increases.

    The social care system for those on the receiving end is not just creeking,but a present I feel is not fit for purpose, at least that's how it seems in my area. I also feel County Cnllrs are in denial. Some it seems also seem to forget they are our representatives but it's as if they are the 'officers', so who is advising in the authority I'm not sure. When trying to arrange the Social Care Cnllr to meet with a group of us parents to point out some of our concerns, they write back to say they cannot discuss individual cases, so where does one go?? If I sound angry, I am.

    I did not ask for my daughter to be born with complex high care needs and frankly if there was a wonder pill to take the impairments away from her I'd be in the front of the queue and the authority can keep the money.

    But regardless of my daughter impairments she is a gift and has taught me a great deal. Neither I do not begrudge one ounce of the
    personal sacrifice, blood sweat and tears' I have experienced to free my daughter from the 'hell hole' of appalling group care in which she suffered neglect and abuse, that is until 15 years ago when we moved her into her own house, which we as family provided so she actually live happily in the calm of her own space and her community supported 24/7 by a small team of PA's we employ.

    None of this was 'handed on a plate' by our local authority, in fact they have done very little of use.

    Despite all the fashions in different systems from the original Direct Payments in the 1990's to the current target driven rush for Personal Budgets one thing is certain, the wheels of the 'system' will make sure it serves itself first and continue to live off the backs of vulnerbale people whose needs will not be met without a 'battle' from their family and friends, people who genuinely care, if they are forunate to have them.

    If anyone can convince me otherwise I'd be happy to re-think.

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Last Updated : 25 July 2013. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.