Getting Better Outcomes for Older People using personal budgets

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Think Local Act Personal has published a report today collating the latest information about personal budgets for older people.

Drawing on research from across the sector, including data from the Health & Social Care Information Centre and the National Personal Budget Surveys, Getting Better Outcomes shows that older people do experience positive benefits from having a personal budget, although these are not as marked as for other groups.

The report draws on recent work of the Think Local Act Personal partnership to highlight what does and doesn't work well for older people using personal budgets, recommends what can be done to improve practice and includes case studies from councils across England that are working to improve personal budget delivery.

Older people form the largest proportion of people who use adult social care, incurring a majority of adult social services expenditure. Of the total number of people with a personal budget, older people number the most at 51 per cent, yet only 15 per cent of these people use direct payments (money paid directly to a person to arrange their own support).

Better process for accessing and using personal budgets is strongly associated with better outcomes for people, so the report recommends that anything councils can do to improve their personal budgets processes is likely to be of benefit to older people.

TLAP Director Sam Bennett says:

"Getting Better Outcomes provides the clearest picture yet of the progress being made with personal budgets for older people. There has been a very helpful shift in the steer and language from Government away from seeing increased numbers of personal budgets as a simple proxy for choice and control, and towards a stronger focus on outcomes, especially as reported by people and their families. Flexibility, reduced processes, genuine involvement of people and their families at all stages of assessment and support planning, and providing independent support systems should increase the success and effectiveness of a personal budget for older people."

TLAP Co-chair and older person's lead for the National Co-production Advisory Group Marjory Broughton says:

"Choice and control means having a choice in how your support needs are met and greater control over that decision. It is important councils work flexibly in offering personal budgets and in a person-centred way to better take account of the priorities older people may want for their lives."

Getting Better Outcomes follows on from earlier work by TLAP and ADASS in 2013 on reviewing progress with personal budgets for older people.