Evaluation of the individual budgets pilot programme: final report

Document type
Report
Author(s)
Glendinning, Caroline; Challis, David; Fernandez, Jose-Luis
Publisher
SPRU
Date of publication
1 October 2008
Subject(s)
Social Work, Social Care and Social Services, Disabled people, Mental health services, Older Adults
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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Individual budgets (IBs) were piloted as a new way of providing support for older and disabled adults and people with mental health problems eligible for publicly funded social care. The Department of Health set up IB pilot projects in 13 English local authorities, running from November 2005 to December 2007, and commissioned a national evaluation. This evaluation is the first robust UK study of the implementation and impact of personalisation approaches in social care. The evaluation found that IBs were generally welcomed by users because they gave them more control over their lives, but there were variations in outcomes between user groups. IBs were typically used to purchase personal care, assistance with domestic chores, and social, leisure and educational activities. People receiving an IB were more likely to feel in control of their daily lives, compared with those receiving conventional social care support; satisfaction was highest among mental health service users and physically disabled people and lowest among older people. Little difference was found between the average cost of an IB and the costs of conventional social care support, although there were variations between user groups. IBs appear cost-effective in relation to social care outcomes, but with respect to psychological well-being, there were differences in outcomes between user groups. Staff involved in piloting IBs encountered many challenges, including devising processes for determining levels of individual IBs and establishing legitimate boundaries for how IBs are used; there were particular concerns about safeguarding vulnerable adults. Despite the intention that IBs should include resources from different funding streams, staff experienced numerous legal and accountability barriers to integrating funding streams; at the same time there was frustration that NHS resources were not included in IBs

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