Martin Routledge?, Head of Operations at In Control has recognised that this is a critical moment for personalisation and written an open letter to Norman Lamb regarding Personalisation: how to avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of success.

In Control, along with our partners and allies, strongly support the personalisation agenda. We are afraid though that unless all local delivery mirrors the best, a historic opportunity to make a big leap forward may be lost.

Local councils face unprecedented difficulty in attempting to achieve positive developments in support of disabled and older people who are suffering or anxious about reductions to their support and benefits – while experiencing massive cuts to council grants. We are very sympathetic to the local authority leaders, managers and other workers trying to protect support for people in these circumstances. However, for the people who regularly contact us with their anxieties and practical concerns, financial threats to their support are often compounded by the poor delivery of personalisation. However challenging it is for councils, we must change this.

Thankfully 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 budgets.

Recently, the Cabinet Office commissioned a review of the barriers to choice in public services from David Boyle. In our work we are concerned with people having control over their lives and their ability to self-direct any support they use within inclusive communities. However, choice of various kinds can be one contributor to control and self-direction – especially as described by Boyle – going far beyond choice of services in a market. Boyle has made a range of recommendations that we support. In Control, Shared Lives Plus, Community Catalysts, Inclusive Neighbourhoods and Inclusion North have now written an open letter to Care Services Minister Norman Lamb in support of key Boyle proposals.

You can read the letter here

Home Care Direct has found this sadly is the situation for may people who have tried to take control of their care at home and have true choice over services.  Home Care Direct work closely with many local authorities around the country and we are continually striving to ensure that the Personalisation agenda is a reality for everyone we work with.  We strongly advocate the Personalisation agenda through our partnership working and we continually find ourselves education people and professionals about what is possible when true Personalisation is embraced.  Hear how this has become a reality for hundreds of people here.