Open access Personalisation through Individual Budgets: does it work and for whom?

Ann Netten, Karen Jones, Martin Knapp, José-Luis Fernández, David Challis, Caroline Glendinning, Sally Jacobs, Nicola Moran, Martin Stevens, Mark Wilberforce (2012)

British Journal of Social Work 42 8 1556-1573

Available online: 21 November 2011

In England, ‘personal budgets’ are being implemented at a time of financial austerity. They are part of a growing trend internationally to give users of publicly funded social care and support more choice and control. In the individual budgets' (IB) pilot, people were allocated and had control over the way their IB was managed and spent, offering the opportunity to explore the potential of IBs to deliver better outcomes for people than conventional services and support. We describe the way we measured outcomes, the effects we found and how they varied between and within service user groups. For some groups, there were clear benefits from IBs. However, it should not be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and, in taking personal budgets forward, it is important to consider how best to address the particular challenges for older people, effects on social work practice and resource implications if the potential benefits are to be achieved. Social workers may find themselves implementing a policy with considerable potential, but which may prove very difficult to achieve in the current financial climate.