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Personalisation, personal budgets and family carers. Whose assessment? Whose budget?

Summary: The policy of personalisation in English adult social care prioritises choice and control by service users over the support they receive. Carers also have rights to assessments and support, but these rights have developed separately, so interdependencies between carers and service users may be overlooked. Moreover, it may be difficult to reconcile these divergent policies in routine practice. This article reports findings from a study examining the roles played by carers in England in the processes of assessment, support planning and management of personal budgets for disabled and older people. The study was conducted between January 2011 and February 2013. It involved a survey of 16 adult social care departments across 2 English regions, and interviews with personalisation and carers lead officers in three local authorities. The Framework approach was used to manage the data, and analysis was done thematically. Findings: Practice was fragmented and inconsistent. Carers were reported to be involved in service users' assessments, and also asked about their willingness and ability to continue caring, but not necessarily about their own needs. Separate carers' assessments were reported to be usually offered, but take-up was low and lead officers' opinions about their value varied. Any help given by carers reduced the level of service users' personal budgets, but there was no evidence that carers' own needs (as identified in carers' assessments) were taken into account. Applications: Greater clarity and consistency is needed, especially the linking of service users' and carers' assessments and finding appropriate ways to meet both. These changes will become increasingly urgent with the implementation of the 2014 Care Act. 

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Type of Reference
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Journal article
Sage Publications Ltd
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Journal Titles
Journal of Social Work
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