Personal budget timetable in doubt
Published on 20 March 2012 12:00 PM
A report by social care directors has thrown the pace of further growth for personal budgets into doubt.
The Conservative/Lib Dem coalition has continued Labour's introduction of personal budgets, under which people are allocated a set sum for their care and support and given freedom to spend it in the way they feel best suits their needs.
But new uncertainty has been sparked by a discussion paper, The Case For Tomorrow, issued by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass).
While it backed personal budgets in principle, the Adass paper warned: 'Many believe that personal budgets and direct payments are not having sufficient impact on changing personal experiences and outcomes for older people.'
It questioned the 'practicality and wisdom' of the target to create a personal budget for all eligible users of services in England by April next year.
And it called for a review of the timetable to implement both personal budgets and direct payments for older people to 'identify how they can be overhauled' to work more effectively.
The budget may be taken as a cash direct payment or administered on the individual's behalf and has proved popular with younger disabled people.
However, older service users and carers have frequently struggled to come to terms with it and many complain of a lack of support to administer the new system.
Ministers in the Department of Health insist they remain committed to making personal budgets 'the norm' for service users and carers.
But it is understood that Department of Health officials have been receptive to the proposal by Adass.
Copyright Press Association 2012