SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers
Moving to a personal budget
Sources of information
The main source of information for personal budget holders and carers was their social worker or community psychiatric nurse but a number of people had obtained information from their local support provider organisation, and a few had used other sources, such as the internet and local information workshops. Here personal budget holders and carers again felt that local authorities/trusts could do much more to facilitate the development of different information sources. They suggested:
- information sessions held in places such as day centres or drop-ins, which some older people and people with mental health problems go to regularly
- making information available through existing networks and community events, as well as through organisations working with older people, people with mental health problems and carers
- giving people the chance to think about taking on a personal budget by talking informally with existing personal budget holders or carers.
The information-giving role of the support provider or user-led organisations which contributed to the study varied significantly depending on their size, the nature of their funding, contract and 'history'. Some organisations only provided information about personal budgets to people who had been referred to them by the LA, while a few others actively marketed their services independently of the LA. Support provider organisations and some personal budget holders felt that such organisations could have a much greater and clearer role in providing independent information about personal budgets. In particular, all support provider organisations felt that (prospective) personal budget holders should be offered the chance to discuss personal budgets with a worker from an independent organisation. Generally, user-led organisations saw themselves as having a wider and more experience-based information-giving role. A few personal budget holders felt that there could be conflicts of interest for support provider organisations - on the one hand, if they are commissioned by the LA, they may feel they have to promote personal budgets in a certain way. On the other hand, if they were independent and had to charge personal budget holders for their services, they could be seen as having a vested interest in encouraging people to take up a personal budget and 'buy' support from them to manage it.
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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