The Government are to change the controversial indicator on personal budgets take-up.

Third Party

This review and change follows a row between the Department of Health and directors over whether councils had hit the 70% target for self-directed support take-up.

The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) 2014-15 report, published last week, said the government would only measure personal budget take-up as a proportion all people who receive long-term support, the group of people “for whom self-directed support is relevant. Previously, it used the wider definition of all users of community-based services. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) argued that the old measure included people for whom a personal budget would not be suitable.

Consequently, Adass’s figures suggested that most councils were meeting the government’s target that 70% of eligible service users should have a personal budget as of April 2013; however, the government’s figures found most did not meet this goal. See here for some Community Care articles on these areas.

The ASCOF report for 2012-13, said that most councils had to meet the 70% target. The report said the proportion of users of services and carers offered a personal budget rose from 43% in 2011-12 to 55.5% in 2012-13.

But it also found large variations between councils in their use of personal budgets in 2012-13. For example, in Richmond upon Thames, Nottinghamshire and Islington the proportion of those receiving personal budgets was over 90%; however in Somerset and Swindon, personal budgets were provided to fewer than a quarter of people who received community based services.

In most councils, the proportion of people receiving personal budgets rose between 2011-12 and 2012-13. In 10 councils the proportion of people receiving a personal budget increased by more than 30 percentage points, but in 12 areas there was a fall in the proportion of people receiving a personal budget.

There was a small national increase in the proportion of adult social care users who said the services they received made them feel safe and secure but there were also significant local variations in this figure, which the report said “highlights the need for local enquiry into the causes of this, and, if necessary, further action”. However, it also pointed out that there were a variety of factors which could have an effect on respondents’ feelings of safety, some of which are not within the control of the council.

The government has revised the way it measures progress against the personal budget target following a controversy about the statistics and here at HomeCareDirect we will follow this story and keep you updated. As an organisation that has specialised in personalisation for over 10 years, HomeCareDirect have seen many examples of how successful personal budget can be for people, enabling them to take control of their care at home. We hope that this debate will not distract from the fact that all forms of self-directed support have great outcomes for many who receive services this way.