Second National Personal Budget Survey launched

An In Control survey of more than 3,300 people who use personal budgets in social care and their carers has found positive results when people have taken up personal budgets.

This is the second National Personal Budget Survey. The first report was published in June 2011.

The survey found that:

  • Over 70 per cent of people who hold a personal budget reported a positive impact on being independent, getting the support they need and want and being supported with dignity.
  • Over 60 per cent reported a positive impact on physical health, mental wellbeing and control over their support.
  • A further 50 per cent reported a positive impact on feeling safe in and outside their home, and in their relationships with paid supporters.

The survey found only small numbers of people reporting any negative impact.

Twenty-two volunteer councils in England took part in the survey. The work was undertaken on behalf of Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) by In Control and led by Professor Chris Hatton from the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University and John Waters from In Control.

The survey utilised the Personal Outcomes and Evaluation Tool (POET) which has been developed over a number of years by In Control and Lancaster University. Its aim is to provide a national benchmark on the impact that personal budgets are having on people's lives.

For the first time, the same survey was also run with 195 people who hold personal health budgets and 117 of their carers. This group reported similar positive results as those with social care personal budgets.

Other key findings included:

  • Councils continuing to find some aspects of the delivery process difficult. When people responded to the invitation to comment on their experiences, there was a high level of positivity in respect of impact on people's lives, but people were much less positive about the personal budget processes.
  • Personal budgets had less impact in some areas including choosing where to live/who to live with, relationships with family, relationships with friends, getting and keeping a paid job and volunteering.
  • However, some councils do quite well even in the more difficult outcome areas suggesting others could make more progress.
  • For all social care groups, councils making the personal budget process easier were robustly associated with better outcomes for personal budget holders. In particular, having a person's views fully included in planning was very strongly linked to positive results The same findings apply to carers.
  • Most carers of personal budget holders also reported positive experiences  saying it made their life better  in terms of finances (52 per cent), having the support you need to continue caring and remain well (69 per cent), carers quality of life (60 per cent), and carers' physical and mental wellbeing (53 per cent).

Minister for Care Services Norman Lamb, said: "We want to give people the power to be able to look after themselves and be fully involved in their care. This is why our Care Bill gives people who use care services, and carers, the right to a personal budget.

"Allowing people to make decisions to improve the quality of their life is very important. We must move from a system of crisis care to a preventative system where people are supported to live independently for longer."

Writing in the report's foreword, Norman Lamb also said: "The shift to self-direction in adult social care and other areas of public service is perhaps the biggest cultural challenge we have tackled, and we are still in the early stages, working in challenging times. The Government remains committed to supporting TLAP and councils, working with ADASS and the LGA to continue and build on the progress made to date."

Julie Stansfield, Chief Executive of In Control said: "We have always advocated that the success of personal budgets depends on people being able to fully direct their support. The 2nd National Personal Budget Survey clearly shows that when this is the case, personal budgets have a positive impact on people's lives. The survey has also echoed our increasing concerns regarding processes and restrictions placed on people. These challenges must be addressed if personalisation is to truly make a difference to people's lives. We urge all councils to check outcomes and experiences with local people regularly and systematically and to co-produce plans to deliver improvements based on these results."

Think Local Act Personal co-chairs, Marjory Broughton and Clenton Farquharson welcomed the survey findings and said: "This survey tells us people's lived experiences are improving in most areas of life following receipt of a personal budget. However we should remember that some people benefit more than others and further work needs to be done to ensure all people have the opportunity to achieve greater independence."

Dr Sam Bennett, Director of Think Local Act Personal, the Partnership that commissioned the survey, said: "Delivering personal budgets using the principles of self-directed support leads to the best results. Crucially, the significant differences in results across councils can help us learn from those achieving the best results. However, personal budgets alone cannot guarantee personalisation. They are one important element and, given their recent inclusion in the Care Bill, it is vital that we focus attention on how to make them work well for all."

The full personal budget and personal health budget reports can be downloaded below together with summary documents.

To find out more about the report and In Control's POET tool watch a presentation here .

Read John Water's blog post here.

Any councils wishing to find out more about how they use POET locally to check personal budget outcomes, benchmark with others, and develop improvement plans can visit our webpage here or contact Martin Routledge, In Control's Head of Operations directly at


If you would like to find out more about POET, how you can use this tool locally, or just keep updated on its development, please contact or contact John Waters on 07403 413 476.

Links to Think Local Act Personal webages



10 comments for “Second National Personal Budget Survey launched”

  1. Gravatar of Paul DaviesPaul Davies
    posted 22 May 2013 at 11:20:24

    This is a very timely report which puts personal budgets back ino the centre of the debate on the future of social care. The inability of many councils to support people to access PBs in a straightforward and simple way despite a decade of succesful trials and pilots is worrying. At a time when greater coordination than ever is required within and between agencies in order to meet the challenges faced by health, community and preventative, and social care services in the future, this report should be a spur to rapid transformation.

  2. Gravatar of LINDA LINDA
    posted 22 May 2013 at 12:24:50

    Personalisation if run correctly is a wonderful experience, however Councils that have set up Support Packages over the last few years have given Clients an expectionation of the care they could receive. At the moment LA's are cutting these packages and leaving the Clients with less care and less independence.

  3. Gravatar of RachelRachel
    posted 22 May 2013 at 13:18:45

    I hope the next survey is conducted very soon. While my initial experience of personalisation was very positive it is rapidly ceasing to be that way. I now have to ask permission for every change to the way the budget is spent and there is nothing in it for socialisation AT ALL.

  4. Gravatar of NitinNitin
    posted 22 May 2013 at 17:49:30

    I think the local authorities & social workers need to get their acts together. I have been in dispute with them because they failed to disclose my personal budget to me AND arranged my care package without adequate understanding of my needs, the procedures involved, the related laws, or my legal rights etc. Everytime, I want to do anything within my budget - I have to ask social services. Where's my independence?

  5. Gravatar of AnitaAnita
    posted 23 May 2013 at 18:18:11

    Self Directed Funding is not what it says basically another name for Direct Payments and East Sussex County Council dictate the what's & why for's . I was the first in ESCC area to have Self Directed and it took my Social Worker Sharon Leavers a years hard work back in 2010/11.

    ESCC are now looking at Pre Payment Credit Cards like in Kent area as it works in Kent really well.

  6. Gravatar of maria terrasmaria terras
    posted 21 June 2013 at 21:16:31

    A survey of 2,022 people from a total budget holders of around 550,000 - figures in the report - is hardly representative or to those in control also legislate on the statistical significance of a sample....

    It seems clear that the only ones in control are In Control - sad.

  7. Gravatar of JanetJanet
    posted 01 July 2013 at 13:57:24

    The survey is far too small and the overall conclusions misleading. The sentiments of being in control greater freedom are absolutely right but the delivery process is far from good, the information available is poor and confusing, inconsistent throughout the country, budgets are being cut back and purchasing support in the market place is difficult with the lack of a level playing field. In control need to acknowledge these issues and address the obvious short comings otherwise this will be a GREAT initiative which will fail and leave many people in a worse position

  8. Gravatar of John John
    posted 12 July 2013 at 18:14:58

    Thanks All for your comments

    As co Author I thought I would pick up on a couple of points in relation to survey size and control.

    The POET tool has been designed to capture people’s lived experience of self-directed support in a consistent way, allowing us to monitor what is really happening and to help answer some of these key questions about implementation.

    In total, 2,022 personal budget holders completed the survey 488 of
    these personal budget holders also wrote in narrative comments about their experience of personal budgets. 1,386 carers completed the POET survey 490 of these carers also wrote in comments about the impact of personal budgets on their own lives.

    As such it is the biggest survey of its kind to-date.

    The report offers analysis of the responses in an open and coherent way, and explores how personal budgets are working for different groups. Where we are able to make statistically significant commentary we do so, where the numbers are insufficient we are are clear about this too.

    In Control and the Local Authorities who use POET are committed to Listening to people who use personal budgets and understanding what they tell us. Only by listening carefully and responding will we be able to benefits of personalisation.

    posted 11 June 2015 at 11:28:59




  10. Gravatar of wendy wendy
    posted 12 June 2015 at 11:48:30

    Hi, many thanks for taking the time to make a comment. We will send you a direct email with some more information and links to POET

    Kind regards

Leave Comment

Last Updated : 29 May 2013. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.