As part of our growing commitment to achieve Better Lives for People in Leeds, a survey was recently conducted to assess how well personal budgets are working within our city. Personal budgets are central to personalisation and give people more choice and control over their care and support. An event was held last week to present the findings of the survey and more importantly, to discuss what more could be done to increase the uptake of personal budgets in Leeds.
The survey used the Personal Budgets Outcomes and Evaluation Tool (POET) which was developed by the national charity, In Control and the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University to provide a national benchmark on the impact personal budgets are having on people’s lives.
Dennis Holmes, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care, kicked off the event with co-hosts Stuart Cameron-Strickland, Head of Policy, Performance and Improvement (ASC) and Caroline Tomlinson, Co-Founder of In Control. Together, they explained the importance of personalisation and the benefits it brings to people to who use care and support services. Dennis also added: “Leeds City Council wants Leeds to be the best city in the UK, and a good city is an inclusive city!”
To read more about Stuart Cameron-Strickland’s thoughts on the event, personal budgets and personalisation, click here.
Over 50 service users, carers, social workers and service providers later took part in an open discussion which was followed by the results. In total, 3,300 surveys were sent out and of the people that responded:
- Two thirds were female;
- More than half were over 65 years old; and
- Over 50% had a physical disability or health condition.
The survey revealed that the majority of people had been using a personal budget for between 1 and 3 years which was regularly paid into their bank account by direct payment. To help them plan how to use their personal budgets, most people asked for advice from their family and friends. In addition, when asked if having a personal budget improved lives for people in Leeds;
- 75% said it helped them stay independent;
- 55% said it made them feel safe;
- 50% said it helped with relationships with friends and family;
- 38% said it made them feel part of the community;
- 32% said it helped them decide where and with whom they lived with; and
- 10% said it helped them to get a job.
The second part of the event involved a workshop where groups were asked to share 3 ‘good’ and 3 ‘not-so-good’ examples of using personal budgets. Some of the responses were:
- Personal budgets relieve some of the pressure on carers;
- Things are much more bespoke and flexible; and
- Personal budgets promote independence, freedom, control and choice.
Not So Good
- The way people are told about personalisation needs to be consistent;
- Managing the money and employment is a lot of responsibility, and could be simpler; and
- Being able to access personal budgets can be very difficult in terms of getting information and being assessed.
The groups then looked at what changes would make a real difference and came up with the following actions and practical solutions:
- More support for employers and employees in terms of recruitment, training and mediation;
- Improving people’s understanding of personal budgets by making information ‘simple’, ‘clever’ and ‘bite-sized’; and
- Developing a steering group with representation from social workers, service users and carers, all from different backgrounds.
All in all, the event was successful and evoked some very productive conversations. Here are just a few of the comments from people who attended the workshop:
“Really good opportunity to discuss this issue – the start of the conversation!”
“Positive event – good participation, well attended and good mix of people.”
“Needed more time on the end solutions but really great to work with end users, staff and providers all at one event.”