Social Workers are inadequate with Personal Budgets
- 16 Nov
Personal budgets are delivering improved outcomes, but service users are finding too many changes in their social worker and conflicting information from practitioners.
Personal budgets had increased opportunities to get out of the house and socialise and boosted independence, including because being able to employ a personal assistant made them less reliant on family.
Service users and family members said their care was better because of the greater choice and control they had over services, with some changing providers with which they were not happy, according to the report by the Office for Public Management and edcp (formerly Essex Coalition of Disabled People).
The report found that having good family and social networks, and service users being confident enough to push for more from the budget, helped with being able to manage personal budgets for service users and provide advice and advocacy.
However, the report said that the main problem was with social workers. Some found that the social worker did not have much time available to spend with the service users and families, which is essential when introducing them to a new procedure.
Service users want a single point of contact who knew their circumstances and whom they could get in touch with easily, but found that their social worker changed or were difficult to contact. This meant they were unable to have their needs reviewed when they felt this was necessary or they were forced to explain their circumstances to several people.
Families and service users found they received conflicting information. Some had been told they could spend their budget in a particular way by a social worker, but found out at the review stage that they were not spending it correctly.
The time that the review period takes is also a hinderance. Practitioners also said it could take six to eight weeks for service users to start receiving their personal budget because of the "bureaucracy" involved, which could lead to the person's condition deteriorating.
Recommendations from the report included that:
- There needs to be greater clarity among practitioners and service users about what people can and cannot spend personal budgets on;
- Communication protocols should be reviewed to reduce the amount of time service users spend trying to get in touch with frontline staff for information and advice on using personal budgets;
- Practitioners and service users should be given much greater clarity about reviews including: when they should be instigated and by whom; what changes in circumstances families need to report to the council prior to the review; the difference between the review and the ongoing process of "light-touch financial monitoring" of personal budgets by staff.
- Practitioners should not conduct reviews by phone and must ensure they have had a chance to fully engage with a service users' support plan before conducting a review;
- The set-up process for personal budgets should be shortened to prevent service users from deteriorating while they wait and to free up practitioners' time.
- The council should seek to boost its capacity in support planning, providing information and advice on using budgets and reviewing support, by exploring how far community or peer support organisations can carry out these functions alongside council practitioners.
- To help increase personal budget uptake, the council should report internally on take-up rates across teams, and "buddy" practitioners with more experience of setting up personal budgets with those with less experience.
- The council should provide service users who lack the skills required in managing budgets - such as negotiation and financial literacy - with training and development in them.
Source: Community Care
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/884071
- 26 Aug
Adults with vulnerabilities in custody are not receiving appropriate support
A report commissioned by the Home Office has said that lack of awareness and a shortage of trained volunteers means police often go ahead without on present, reports the BBC.Home Secretary Theresa...
- 11 Aug
Chief inspector warns cuts are affecting adult social care
Andrea Sutcliffe has said that many carers ended up being "the sort of care worker you wouldn't want them to be", reports the BBC.Adult social care budgets have been cut by £4.6bn since 2010 - a 31%...
- 04 Jun
Social care services for adults struggling due to budget cuts
There is a £1.1.bn shortfall to councils in England warns the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, and freezing care provider fees to save money is no longer sustainable, reports the...
- 03 Jun
People with vulnerabilities left at risk by policy makers
‘Solutions from the Frontline’, published by a coalition of charities looks into the ideas and experiences of service users. It investigates how the new government along with national and local...
- 20 Apr
Social landlords in Wales hope to save the NHS £1.7m
The savings will come from housing 33 patients under the care of the Aneurin Bevan University health board, through a project called ‘In One Place.' This project places patients who have a mental...
- 17 Apr
New supported housing service for people needing care after hospital
The service will provide supported accommodation for people who no longer need specialist medical care, but who are no longer able to return home due to changes in their home care needs. It is hoped...
- 15 Apr
Proposal for an extension on the integration of health and social care in Staffordshire
Staffordshire County Council wishes to agree on a new deal which will help to improve integration between health and social care for its residents, reports ITV.The deal, if agreed, will extend the...
- 17 Mar
Older people and people with disabilities finding it hard to get state funded care
Social services leaders are warning that many people with disabilities or older people with care needs are facing the challenge of having to pay for their own support at the end of the next...
- 11 Nov
The number of people using food banks has risen by 1,468%
Latest figures by the Trussell Trust show that 913,138 adults and children have received three day's emergency food and support from its food banks over 103/14 which is an increase of 346,992 since...
- 30 Oct
Support for patients with vulnerabilities with eased pressure on hospitals
Teams of social workers and NHS staff will soon become available seven days a week under new care plans, reports the BBC.Ministers are predicting that pressures will ease on hospitals from April once...
Revenue Optimisation "Coventry Mind has recently worked through a programme of Housing Benefit optimisation with Support Solutions and in particular their specialist Danny Key. Throughout the whole process Danny demonstrated that he has excellent knowledge of the subject and was able to put forward a convincing case for the increase in funding to the Housing Benefit team. Coventry Mind has already and will continue to recommend Support Solutions and in particular this service to other organisations." Steven Hill - Director of Central Services