Council-Managed Personal Budgets: Choice and Flexibility of Home Care for Older People

Wednesday 5 June 2013, 1.45PM to 4.15pm

Speaker(s): Parvaneh Rabiee, Kate Baxter and Caroline Glendinning, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York

MRC Seminar 5 June 2013 (MS Word , 85kb)

Personalisation in social care is about ensuring the support people receive is tailored to individual preferences. Personal budgets (PBs) are a mechanism for facilitating personalisation of local-authority funded care. They can be taken as cash direct payments; as funds held in a local authority or third party account; or a mixture of these.  Where some or all the PB is held in a local authority or third party account, it is known as a ‘managed personal budget’. Evidence suggests many older people are reluctant to take a cash direct payment, preferring the local authority to manage their budget instead. This raises the important question of whether the perceived benefits of personalisation are available to older people using council-managed PBs.

The NIHR School for Social CareResearch (SSCR) commissioned the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) to conducta study exploring what changes councils have made in commissioning and front-line practice; how service providers have responded and how satisfied older managed PB-holders are. The study was conducted in three councils and included interviews with commissioning managers, focus groups with local authority support planners/care managers, interviews with home care agency managers and face to face interviews with older people using managed PBs.

Key findings included:

Councilsare moving from block contracts with home care providers to framework agreements.  However, numbers offramework providers may initially be limited, to maintain market stability;capacity may be particularly restricted in rural areas. Council brokers advertise new referrals to framework providers; this can improve the efficient operation of local care markets, but risks new communication barriers between council support planners and provider managers.Councilsupport planners experience challenges in balancing creative support planning against their knowledge of limited capacity in local home care services and restrictions on local providers. Providers’ responsiveness is constrained by council restrictions on the flexible use of budgets. 

This seminar will present researchevidence on the processes of delivering personalised support to older people using managed personal budgets, focusing on the role of support planning in facilitating choice and flexibility, and the service users’ perspective.

SPRU at the University of York has a long-established reputation for conducting world-class research on disability, social care and family care. SPRU has been awarded the Queens Anniversary Prize in recognition of the impact that its research has had over the years on social policy and practice. SPRU is a member of the NIHR SSCR.  SSCR-funded projects have explored choice and control for a range of service users, such as those with severe and complex needs, young adults with physical disabilities and older people, their families and carers.  

Location: Kings Manor, York

Admission: see flyer for details


Telephone: 01904 321237