SCIE Report 36: Enabling risk, ensuring safety: Self-directed support and personal budgets
'It is mandatory for counsellors to review program participants' purchasing plans to assure that all intended purchases of goods and services were within state guidelines.' (Doty, Mahoney et al 2007)
US cash and counseling program
The bulk of the identified international research published in the English language which focuses on risk and a personal budget scheme comes from the US, specifically the Cash and Counseling Demonstration Program (CCDP) which was subject to a six-year three-state pilot study.
However, US Cash and Counseling differs from UK self-directed support and personal budgets in several important ways:
- specific operational clarity and more defined limits and restrictions on how people can spend their personal budgets
- risk minimisation for all parties was considered as part of the overall program design
- it supplemented rather than replaced existing state-directed services
- professional support and guidance from a program 'counsellor' was mandatory
- program counsellors received specific skills training which encompassed financial aspects and the use of 'fiscal intermediaries' (third party budget holders) was understood to be a clear option for everyone
- systems were in place to allow budget holders to employ relatives which was seen as vital for the success of the scheme.
This quote at the top of this page from a paper on the Cash and Counseling Program demonstrates how risk is managed through multi-level agreements and systems to regulate personal budget spending.