Individual budgets can give people more choice, flexibility and
control over their personal care, as well as a better quality of
life, according to a pilot scheme evaluation report launched today by
Care Services Minister Phil Hope.
The independent evaluation was conducted by a combined team of five
university research units. It found that individual budgets had
particular benefits for mental health service users and younger
disabled people. While there were no important differences in overall
cost (IBs cost on average about ВЈ280 compared with ВЈ300 for standard
mainstream services), there were indications that individual budgets
have the potential to offer greater value for money.
Individual budgets give people who have care needs the power to
decide the nature of their own support and the report showed that
most groups liked this. People can choose to use the money to fund
the care that suits them best and fits in with their lifestyle – for
example by having someone support them at home rather than going into
Mental health service users in the individual budget group reported a
significantly higher quality of life. Younger physically disabled
people were more likely to report higher quality of care, and were
more satisfied with the help they received, the choice and control
they experienced and felt they had the opportunity to build better
quality support networks. People with learning disabilities were more
likely to feel that they had control over their daily lives.
However, the report found that older people did not find the
individual budget system used during the pilot as easy to use as the
other groups, and they did not appear to like the idea of managing
their own support.
Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:
“Individual budgets can put people back in control of their own care,
and give them a better quality of life. This report is invaluable in
helping us understand the benefits of individual budgets, as well as
the action we need to take so that everyone can benefit from them.
“Since this research was undertaken more support has been put in
place for older people and early indicators have shown that this has
transformed their experiences of using individual budgets. We will
conduct further research to investigate the impacts further. We must
also get better at letting people know that they don’t have to take
on management of the budget themselves.
This is a very complex area. We will work to address the
recommendations of this report, to make greater choice and control a
reality for many more people.”
The results of this research will feed into work to introduce pilots
of personal budgets for healthcare from 2009, as announced in the NHS Next Stage Review.
As part of the Department of Health’s plan to transform social care,
the Department announced in late 2007 it would empower people to
shape their own lives and the services they receive through personal
1.The “Evaluation of the Individual Budget Pilot Projects” report is
independent, a combined team from The University of York’s
Social Policy Research Unit, Kings College London’s Social Care
Workforce Research Unit and the Personal Social Services Research
Unit of Manchester University, LSE and the University of Kent. They
are collectively called The Individual Budgets Evaluation Network
(IBSEN). The report can be found at the Department of Health website.
2.The report is an evaluation of the pilot scheme conducted over two
years, 2006-2007. It involved a survey of 959 people including
disabled groups, older people and young people in transition to
3.Further research on the impact of individual budgets on carers will
be published in due course. Early findings from the research suggest
that at least some carers of older people may experience considerable
benefits from the flexibility offered by IB’s.
4.The aim of Individual Budgets is to give individuals the power to
decide the nature of their own support. An IB brings together
resources from different funding streams into a single sum that can
be spent flexibly in accordance with their needs and preferences.
They can either have the money paid to them directly and then make
their own arrangements to meet their needs, or ask the Council to
provide services, or a mixture of both.
5.The Individual Budgets project was commissioned by the Department
of Health in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions
and Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG). The
Supporting People programme, one of the six funding streams included
in the IB pilots and managed by CLG , was identified by the IB
managers as one of the most flexible of the funding streams. It is
possible for a majority of Local Authorities to deliver IBs which
include SP within the terms of the existing Grant Conditions – a
number of non pilot authorities are starting to develop processes to
6.’Putting People First’ – a vision for the transformation of social
care – was launched alongside a ВЈ520 million Social Care Reform
grant in Dec 2007. It set out the need to empower citizens to shape
their own lives and the services they receive. This included giving
the vast majority of people who receive funded care their own
7.High Quality Care for All, the final report of the NHS Next Stage
Review led by Lord Darzi, announced that the Government would explore
the potential of personal budgets in healthcare, to give NHS patients
greater control over the services they receive. The Government will
introduce a pilot programme in early 2009, learning from the
experience of individual budgets in social care and from other health
systems. The programme will be designed with NHS, local authority,
care and patient group partners, with clear rules – for example to
ensure that it fully supports the principles of the NHS as a
comprehensive service, free at the point of use.
Department of Health