Gathering the Evidence: Making Personal Budgets Work for All

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Personal budgets, now enshrined in the Care Act, are a key mechanism for allowing people to have control and choice over their care and support.

Whilst there is evidence that helps us to understand the experience and outcomes of people receiving personal budgets, more needs to be done to make sure that councils and other organisations routinely capture and act upon the views of people with lived experience and their carers.

The report, Gathering the Evidence: Making Personal Budgets Work for All , published today, sets out a way forward for system leaders and government to achieve this, so that we can put people and their experience back at the centre. The report is a response to the National Audit Office’s 2016 report looking into Personalised Commissioning in Adult Social Care, which highlighted the paucity of a firm evidence base for personal budgets.

As a next step, we are committed to working with government, and other stakeholders to produce an action plan to ensure that personalisation works for all.

Personal budgets are just one element of a much deeper system change called ‘personalisation’. It is always hard to pinpoint whether deep change is really happening in complex systems, and the impact of taking up a personal budget may not be separable from the impact of other changes, such as making local places more accessible or building more inclusive communities. So we should make good use of the evidence that we have and work with people who use personal budgets and their families to understand more about their lived experience of what works for different groups and why.

Alex Fox OBE, CEO Shared Lives


ADASS is pleased to see the launch of this important publication on Gathering the Evidence for Personal Budgets. The research and analysis leads us to a clear set of recommendations and conclusions. This sector wide response to the NAO’s 2016 report into Personalised Commissioning in Adult Social Care is a welcome collaborative approach to a challenge that requires a united front from all of us across the sector.

Dawn Wakeling, Policy Lead for Personalisation, ADASS 


The publication of this powerful report from the TLAP Partnership outlines how we as a sector, can move forward in our quest and need, to gather further evidence around personal budgets and personalisation.  Recent surveys have made clear that progress on personalisation is very mixed, so now, more than ever, we need to ensure the development of a strong evidence base – evidence that includes the experience of people who use care and support services. This is about putting personalisation firmly back on the agenda, so that we are able to work collaboratively to ensure that that citizens are offered the opportunity to have a life, not a service. 

Clenton Farquharson MBE, Chair of TLAP Board


Personal Budgets are at the heart of the Care Act's ambitions to transform social care and move care and support from 'services' to 'getting a life'. We are living in hard economic times but, as the family carer of an adult son with learning disabilities I know that personal budgets are actually part of the solution rather than another intractable problem, when they are used in a creative and practical way. As this report demonstrates, we need to think outside the proverbial box and adopt new approaches to building an evidence base for personalisation. My - and my son's life stories - show that lived experience should and could be part of that new evidence base, and should inform future commissioning.  

Dame Philippa Russell MBE, Carers UK Vice-President