When we published a blog post by our head of operations Martin
Routledge and other colleagues- 'Personalisation: give up or move
on?' - it created real debate and discussion about views on the
state of personalisation today.
Martin Routledge, Alex Fox, Miro Griffiths and Vidhya Alakeson
asked the question 'Is it a case of give up or move on for
They themselves were inspired to write this blog by the huge
amount of current discussion around personalisation in public
services - how far it has come and the barriers and challenges
They noted that for some there is a growing sense of the failure
of personalisation, for some: "…the delivery of the policy in
social care has been largely unsuccessful and its extension into
other areas - especially health, is really unwise".
Their reflection was that there are different reasons for these
"Some people have a sense of personalisation failing because
they are passionate about people getting choice and control and are
disappointed that things haven't moved faster or better or included
everyone to date".
"Others believe that some of the mechanisms for delivery are not
working or not the right approaches"
"Some see personalisation as primarily a government driven
agenda or cover for cuts and oppose it for these reasons."
Martin and colleagues share many of these concerns - In
Control's helpline gets many emails and calls from people trying to
make personalisation work for themselves or their families but
finding themselves stuck in a bureaucratic swamp or inflexible
rules. Others are experiencing the sometimes dramatic impact of
funding cuts. In this situation it is not all surprising that many
feel personalisation is not working well.
In Control and partners, as well as supporting individuals and
groups, have made strong representation on these issues. An open
letter to Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb (link), said;
"..research and experience are increasingly showing us
what works to really improve outcomes and extend choice and
control. The problem is that in too many places these things are
not being done. For example, in respect of personal budgets,
we too often find unsuitable systems for resource allocation,
burdensome support planning approaches not controlled by people
themselves, rigid rules on spend, social workers not trusted to
make judgements, people left without information advice and
advocacy, under-developed markets and restrictive preferred
provider lists. There are the places where, in the name of
controlling spend, more money is spent, sometimes through
unnecessary process, sometimes through not allowing creative use of
But the aim of the current blog was to look forward. On top of
the changes to local delivery of personal budgets that are
desperately needed in many places, Martin, Alex, Miro and Vidhya
felt there is a need to look at some ideas about how to drive major
improvements and make suggestions for policymakers and others.
The resulting blog presented some of these ideas and asked for
comment and suggestion to help develop them further.
Your response showed just how important this issue is to so many
And the biggest response was about what personalisation is, and
should be, with many of you strongly agreeing it isn't about
processes, it's about people.
'No matter what people do to us or say… it's how it makes us
feel that counts. The 280 people who passed through the ICE
conference know what good looks like, for many they had never even
heard of personalisation... but they know what it feels like to
belong,' commented 'Caroline'.
'The difference integrated Health and Social Care Personal
Budgets can make is so key to the future of our support to citizens
to be in control,' added Tracey Bush.
'…we need to restate the end goal as being inclusion &
reappraise from that perspective,' agreed Neil Crowther.
Some people made suggestions about the need to communicate and
bring more people along in the drive towards independent living and
Jon Hyslop talks about the need to ensure the public is 'brought
with us' to avoid misconceptions around this being 'special
Jayne Knight agreed saying 'Personalisation has to enter the
hearts and minds to be the way we are all in society.' She goes on
to say something very powerful 'I would feel a lifetimes work had
been for nothing if a better future for all became consigned to
history. United we stand. It's a civil rights matter not to be
taken lightly and worth fighting or tooth and nail. Don't
complicate it by too much process, win hearts and minds,' which was
picked up in many comments - this desire to ensure that
personalisation continues to develop and grow, not fail at this
Some pointed out the effects of spending cuts in their
experience: 'Well it all sounds very nice but ignores the fact that
most people get nothing! No funding, no support, no budget. Go near
the service providers for help and they crucify you. How dare we
think about getting support when they need the money for coffee and
These comments are just some of those that ignited further
discussion on Twitter. You can read a round up of what everyone has
been saying by visiting our Storify page.
You can read the full blog here.
We also published another blog post last week by our chief
executive Julie Stansfield that sparked some debate. Her blog,
'Small steps can lead to big change' can be read here.
There are also many other blogs that have been discussed the
current state of personalisation and the need to look at where we
are, and how far we have come. Jenny Morris, blogger and champion
of independent living, has also written a blog post around this
topic, 'If you don't know your history' which you can read on her
Martin Routledge has also written
further blogs on the future and current state of personalisation.
Read his blog, Personalisation: how to avoid snatching defeat from
the jaws of success, here.