SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers
Key messages for practice
Overall, the research highlighted a number of key themes and issues for the implementation of personal budgets:
- promoting personal budgets and access to clear, accessible information
- integrated working and information sharing with health
- active outreach to marginalised communities though trusted networks and groups
- clear protocols for linking risk assessment and risk management as part of the support planning process
- support plans accounting for carer role and including contingency plans for the individual
- encouraging creativity in support planning and recognising the role of SPOs, ULOs and peer support
- improving the supply of support and service providers to enable choice
- maximising control regardless of how the personal budget is managed
- offering choice in the support available to manage the personal budget
- establishing proportionate monitoring systems.
The research indicated a number of steps which can be taken to avoid personal budgets becoming too administrative and complex and to promote person-centred working:
- Acknowledging the central importance of the relationship between personal budget holders and the practitioner who supports them to plan their care and support. This human factor cannot be underestimated, and so giving staff support, information, training and time to work properly with personal budget holders is crucial.
- Personal budget holders and carers need the freedom to get information, advice and support from other sources, but this should not be at the expense of the continuity that a practitioner can provide.
- Devolving as many aspects of the personal budget process as possible to local teams, SPOs and personal budget holders themselves has the potential to not only improve staff morale but also to reduce administrative costs and provide a more flexible and responsive service.
- A successful personal budget process isn't just about what the local authority does. It requires a series of effective partnerships between both individuals and agencies, and these take time to establish.
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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