An article in Community Care today highlights a new survey from ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Care) which shows that although the numbers of people receiving a Personal Budget has increased by 40% over the past 12 months, those receiving their budget as a Direct Payment has, however, remained stagnant. http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/21/06/2012/118307/direct-payment-numbers-stall-amid-hike-in-personal-budgets.htm
Although the survey highlighted several positive steps towards a more personalised social care system, such as increasing numbers of carers receiving a personal budget, the findings on Direct Payment numbers is obviously disappointing . This means that most people are receiving their care and support through a care package managed by their local council. Whilst this does mean people are aware of the amount of money available for their care package it still means that they do not have much choice and control over how this support is provided . This is because many councils have a limited number of approved care providers from which the service user can choose .
In our experience this often does not provide an adequate quality of care . Not only are the services provided by care agencies more expensive (and so reducing the number of hours of care available ) but it is “time and task ” focused e.g. 3 x 30 min calls to prepare food. We believe councils should be working much harder to ensure there is plenty of support available to enable people to receive a Direct Payment. They can then benefit from having more control over the care and support they need leading to a higher quality of life, as was proven in the National Personal Budgets survey carried out last year.
The survey can be downloaded from www.adass.org.uk