Social care users survey findings published
The largest ever survey of social care users and personal budgets has been carried out by Professor Christopher Hatton from the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University and the social care charity In Control.
The current government has said it is committed to ensuring personal budgets are available to all recipients of ongoing state funded social care by 2013.
Every year nearly one and a half million people in England look to their local authority for personal care and support due to their age or disability. Almost six million adults in the UK are believed to spend time caring for disabled or older family members.
The survey of over 2,000 people reveals that for a majority, personal budgets have a positive impact on people’s lives, meaning they are supported with dignity and respect, stay independent, in control of their support and get that support when they need it.
The findings will help councils to re-shape their approach to social care, as informed by local people.
Chris Hatton, Professor of Psychology, Health and Social Care, Lancaster University, said: “The results of this survey clearly show that councils can routinely deliver personal budgets that work well for everyone. If councils keep to the principles of self-directed support, people using personal budgets and their family carers report real positive changes in their lives. People also need supportive local communities, meaningful access to the full range of community facilities available to everyone else, and a range of local services that will deliver the support people want, when and where they want it.”
The National Personal Budget Survey also found that people are more likely to experience better outcomes if the personal budgets process keeps people fully informed, and in control of the personal budget and how it is spent; while supporting them without undue constraint and bureaucracy, and fully involving carers.
However, the survey results also found that councils need to provide better quality systems and processes if they are to help continue to transform the lives of older and disabled adults and achieve the best results.
In Control Chief Executive Julie Stansfield said: “These findings show the huge potential for personal budgets but they also signal a warning that they will only make a difference to people’s lives if implemented by councils in the right way and if this doesn’t simply become a ‘box-ticking’ exercise. With councils expected to have 100 per cent of people on personal budgets by 2013 it’s critical that they take the opportunity to review their progress to date, build on the positives, and identify ways to make improvements.”