SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers

Managing the personal budget

Holding the budget

Across the case study sites personal budget holders were offered four ways of holding their personal budget:

Decisions about how to manage the personal budget can have a powerful knock-on effect in terms of the ways in which people can exercise choice and control. personal budget holders emphasised the importance of ensuring people were able to make informed decisions about which option would be best for them and the support they would need to make it work. There was concern among support providers and some LA/trust staff that many personal budget holders, especially older ones, were being steered away from direct payments and towards managed accounts or services commissioned by the LA. personal budget holders, staff and providers suggested this could be addressed by:

Personal budget holders using direct payments clearly felt this had given them much greater choice and control. For personal budget holders with mental health problems the sense of responsibility increased their confidence. Older personal budget holders who had opted for a direct payment were equally positive. A number of older personal budget holders had taken their personal budget as directly commissioned services or a managed account. Although this could work well for some (with the right input from their social worker and a flexible, creative support planning process), the evidence suggests that currently these deployment options often result in less choice and control than a direct payment.

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  • SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers