Risk, safeguarding and personal budgets: exploring relationships and identifying good practice

SPRU research team

Related links

Publications and presentations from the project are available from the York Research Database.

This research sits within our Professional and service issues research theme. Read about our research themes.

External collaborators

  • Martin Stevens (Principal Investigator), Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London
  • Shereen Hussein, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London
  • Jill Manthorpe, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London
  • Kritika Samsi, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London
  • John Woolham, Coventry University
  • Mohamed Ismail, Analytic Research Ltd.

Project summary

This study explored the relationships between safeguarding and personalisation. Safeguarding is about enabling people to maintain independence, well-being and choice, as well as the right to live a life free from abuse and neglect. Personalisation is about tailoring services to the needs of the end user. Personalised services have been linked with greater choice and control. One of the main forms of enabling personalisation is through personal budgets (PBs), whereby people are given real budgets (cash direct payments) or virtual budgets with which to arrange their own services. However, there were fears that people using PBs to purchase unregulated care, or relying on relatives to manage PBs, may be at greater risk of abuse and neglect than people using conventional services.

The study used quantitative and qualitative methods. It aimed to investigate the consequences for practice, and the outcomes for service users and carers, of PBs, particularly in the form of cash direct payments, in respect of safeguarding. It investigated:

  • the prevalence of abuse and neglect amongst budget holders compared to non-budget holders (people entitled to public funding for social care and self-funders)
  • local authority and independent practitioners' understanding of the practice implications arising from cash direct payment holders' rights to safeguarding
  • help offered to cash direct payment holders in planning support and dealing with risks and
  • what might constitute best practice in minimising risks of abuse and neglect.

Policy and practice aims

The project generated robust evidence to support practice developments by bringing together statistical evidence with the perspectives and accounts of people with direct payments, their carers and relatives, and practitioners. It drew out clear practice messages for care coordinators, social workers and practitioners in provider and safeguarding roles, specifically in the areas of support planning, monitoring and reviewing people who use cash direct payments.

Additional information

Related links

Publications and presentations from the project are available from the York Research Database.

This research sits within our Professional and service issues research theme. Read about our research themes.