Personal and Individual Budgets

Personal and Individual Budgets



Personalisation is an approach described by the Department of Health as meaning that “every person who receives support, whether provided by statutory services or funded by themselves, will have choice and control over the shape of that support in all care settings”. It follows that support should be delivered in a way that is tailored to the individual's needs rather than in a one-size-fits-all manner.

BASE believes that good quality supported employment is inherently personalised. It's all about working alongside an individual to discover their personal aspirations, strengths and needs and then supporting the individual to achieve their ideal job.

Personalisation involves having choice and control. It is often confused with personal budgets, which is simply one method of funding this support.

You can find out more about personalisation at these sites:
Community Care
Social Care Institute for Excellence
Think Local Act Personal




Personal Budgets

Personal budgets are very trendy in policy circles at the moment. They can be great at enabling people to buy care services and they allow people to control the support they purchase. This doesn't suit everyone though and most personal budgets are managed on the person's behalf by local authorities. They have, in effect, become an entitlement voucher and are used to ration available support, thus undermining the concept of personalisation.

Employment is different. It is not clear whether personal budgets should be buying the guarantee of a job or whether they fund the process of trying. There is little choice of provider in most areas and customers have no information about quality on which to base their choice of provider. We have not been able to find anywhere where personal budgets are leading to improved job outcomes or higher quality support. Most local authorities are still strategically commissioning supported employment services.

BASE has written a guide to supported employment and personal budgets. Published jointly with the British Institute of Learning Disabilites (BILD), the guide sets out what the key issues around personalisation and supported employment are, particularly for people with a learning disability and people with autism. It describes the supported employment model and current funding streams that can be used. The guide explores some of the challenges for jobseekers and for supported employment providers and how these might be overcome. The booklet costs £4 and is available from the BILD bookstore.





Individual Budgets

Individual budgets are pooled funding. The idea is to draw together funding from different sources so that the individual can use them to purchase tailored support. This could be a really good thing if done properly. The Jobs First initiative tried to put this into practice but the evaluation found that it was exceptionally difficult and bureaucratic to braid these funding streams together. More recently, the Right to Control projects tried to do a similar thing. This doesn't seem to have worked well in most places though there was some excellent work in Manchester which led to over 100 jobs being secured.