Self-directed support: the numbers grow

An increasing number of people and carers who use council-funded services now have their support and services provided through self-directed support, reablement and information and advice. This is despite there being fewer people overall receiving care and support from adult social services due to demographic pressures and financial restraint.

These are among the findings of a major report published by the Towards Excellence in Adult Social Care (TEASC) programme. TEASC is backed by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA), Solace, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).

TEASC Chair and ADASS President Sandie Keene says: "The combination of rising demographic demand and budget reduction make this a difficult time for health and care services. It is a positive finding that more people have benefited from personalised care, albeit disappointing that the national target has not been reached. However, there is overwhelming evidence that Councils are prioritising those with high level support needs to support independence through early intervention. The evidence, supported by a recent ADASS survey of personalisation, suggests that personal budgets have taken a firm hold in the vast majority of councils and will lead to further improvements in the quality of life for more people."

TEASC Personalisation Lead and Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) Programme Director Dr. Sam Bennett says: "The analysis in the report will help inform the work of TLAP's Partners across the sector towards ensuring further progress with personalisation and community based support."

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive, SCIE says: "The progress report provides local authorities and care providers with valuable information on which to base their plans to improve care. The report recognises the challenge of improving people's experience of care at a time when resources are limited and highlights the importance of more cost-effective, integrated working and maximising the use of technology."

The report includes findings from the National Personal Budget Survey which In Control and Lancaster University undertook on behalf of TLAP utilising POET. The report states that growth in the number of people that have personal budgets is only one aspect and that we also need to look at the impact that personal budgets are having on people's lives, which the survey does. Key results from the survey show that personal budgets and self-directed support continue to be the subject of significant debate and that experiences can vary and regional variations are wide.

Other points covered by the report include:

A national consistency with a small improvement in satisfaction with Adult Social Care Services from the previous year. In the context of significant reductions in council expenditure this is a positive sign.

•The proportion of people who receive a service after assessment has reduced. More people now go through an initial period in which short term intervention may result successfully in a reduced or delayed need for on-going care or support.

•The rate of admissions to care homes of older people rose again, though more slowly than in 2011-12. This may mean that effective short term help, such as reablement is helping more people to delay or prevent the need for care until they reach a point where full time residential / nursing home care is needed towards the end of life, for a shorter period.

•The number of people receiving a formal review of their care needs has reduced. This may be linked to the reduced number of people receiving care who may not be eligible for an annual review.

The full report, together with further information on the TEASC programme, the National Personal Budget Survey and POET can be accessed via the links below.

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Last Updated : 09 August 2013. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.