M. Stevens and others
Journal of Social Policy, vol. 40, 2011, p. 257-274
Individual budgets (IBs) in social care for adults were heralded as an important means for increasing individual choice in several UK policy documents. Following a brief history of choice in public services, the authors outline some of the conditions for developing a critique of the use of choice, using the organising themes or 'antagonisms' proposed by Clarke et al (2007): equity; public versus private nature of using services; and power relationships. Interview data from the Individual Budgets Evaluation are re-examined using these themes in order to illustrate and contextualise perceptions of choice as offered through this mechanism. The final section discusses how these findings contribute to developing a critique of choice.