Personal Budgets: learning from experiences of older people and people with mental health problems
The evaluation aims to establish whether personal health budgets ensure better health and social care outcomes, compared with conventional healthcare delivery.
SPRU research team
- Hilary Arksey
- Caroline Glendinning
- Liz Newbronner, Acton Shapiro (Project Lead)
- Ruth Chamberlain, Acton Shapiro
- Chris Bartlett, Acton Shapiro
- Kate Bosanquet, Acton Shapiro
- Sue Bott, National Centre for Independent Living
- Bernd Sass, National Centre for Independent Living
Personal budgets are at the core of current developments in adult social care policy and practice. They offer greater choice and control to people needing social care, by specifying the resources available and allowing individuals to use these resources to meet their support needs flexibly from a wide range of sources. However, some groups, particularly older people, appear to derive fewer benefits from personal budgets than others.
The project involved primary research into the experiences of older people and people with mental health problems, and their carers, in using personal budgets. The research evidence was then used to develop learning materials and other support for good practice. The project addressed the following questions:
- What arrangements for assessment, self-assessment and supported self-assessment work best for which groups of service users and carers?
- How are carers’ needs considered alongside service user (self-)assessments?
- What personal budget deployment, support planning and brokerage arrangements work best for which groups of service users and carers?
- What types of support with the on-going management of personal budgets best help service users and carers to maximise the potential benefits of greater choice and control?
- How are local authorities and others ensuring that chosen support options are available for personal budget holders?
The project had three phases:
- Background literature search and interviews with representatives from key national organisations to identify examples of good practice.
- Case study work in local authorities, focusing on front-line practice and the experiences of personal budget holders and carers.
- Development of learning resources.
The second and third phases of the project were linked by a seminar feeding back key findings from the research to the participating local authorities and asking participants to present their ‘best practice’ to each other.
Policy and practice aims
The project developed learning materials and other resources to help local authorities deliver the most appropriate support to help older people and people with mental health problems, and their respective carers. With this help they should be able to maximise the benefits of choice and control from using personal budgets.