Councils meet 30 per cent target for personal budgets

A third of all people eligible for social care support are now receiving a personal budget, with half of those received by people over the age of 65, an ADASS survey of 153 English councils has found.

More than 338,000 people are now managing their own support, double the number of people from this time last year. The total amount of money allocated in personal budgets overall has now passed the £1.5bn mark, representing almost £1 in every £7 spent by councils directly on care and support services.

A fifth of personal budgets have a value of less than £1k per annum, but a quarter are for £10k or more.

Of the 132 councils that responded to the ADASS survey, the majority (83) are now delivering personal budgets to a third or more of eligible people and 27 of these councils give personal budgets to over half of their eligible people.

The rate of increase in personal budget delivery was much faster in the second half of the 2010/11, showing that the move to personal budgets is picking up speed.

Nearly all of the increase has been in 'managed' personal budgets, with no significant increase in direct payments numbers in the last year. Whilst only a third of personal budgets are delivered via a direct payment, almost half of all personal budget funding is allocated in these payments, suggesting that the people offered larger funds are choosing direct payments as their preferred delivery method

The survey also found that a significant minority of councils (at least 19) are delivering personal budgets to less than a fifth of potentially eligible users.

ADASS President Peter Hay said:

"It is a significant achievement for councils to have exceeded the 30 per cent target for all eligible people to receive a personal budget by March 2011. Progress is varied and it's time for all councils to step up to the plate if we are to achieve the 100 per cent target by April 2013. We recognise this is a very testing period for councils in managing the difficult financial environment and its consequences. It is crucial that we maintain momentum in promoting personalisation and self-directed support by taking greater individual and collective responsibility for the delivery of key aspects of policy. ADASS is encouraging councils to demonstrate leadership in this area to ensure local arrangements for delivery of personal budgets and direct payments are transparent and that they engage people in continual improvement."

Miranda Wixon and Richard Jones, joint chairs of the Think Local, Act Personal Partnership, which is leading the charge across the sector to transform adult social care through personalisation and community-based support, agree that the figures are positive but are encouraging local government partners to continue their efforts in focusing on improved outcomes for citizens and their families.

Responding to the survey, they agreed the following joint statement:

"There can now be no doubt that for the most people personal budgets make a positive difference in important areas of their lives. At the same time, continuing and urgent action is needed to ensure all can benefit and that expensive and restrictive processes are streamlined to improve experiences and efficiency. The current situation is very challenging, given significant financial pressures. However, this makes effective delivery of personal budgets even more important - use of resources must be optimised to improve outcomes, choice and control."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

· The figures come from the ADASS Survey of Personal Budgets in March 2011. A summary is available online.

· The total number of personal budgets in previous years was 168,000 in March 2010 and 93,000 in March 2009.

· 132 councils completed the survey, a response rate of 86%.

· The Think Local, Act Personal Partnership is taking up the reigns where the Putting People First programme left off. It is a consortium of over 30 health and social care organisations leading the work to transform adult social care through personalisation and community-based support. A copy of the agreement, which was launched last November, is available from www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk

· For further information, please contact Drew Clode for ADASS (tel 0797 683 7755) or Jaimee Lewis for Think Local, Act Personal Partnership (07867 857514).