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Most councils meet personal budgets target

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A majority of councils achieved their target to provide 30% of eligible people with personal budgets by April, according to the government’s former lead for the programme.

The Department of Health first set councils the goal for all people receiving ongoing, weekly social care to be receiving a personal budget by 31 March in November 2009. But by November 2010 only 13 per cent of eligible people had a personal budget.

Jeff Jerome, the DH former national director for social care transformation, last week claimed the target had been met.

Mr Jerome, who finished his role leading the government’s three year social care “personalisation” programme on 31 March, presented latest figures on budget delivery last week at a Westminster Health Forum event in London.

However, he acknowledged that the data only referred to responses from 130 councils, which he said “reflects how busy people are at the moment”.

He said of these, 83 councils had achieved the 30% or above. But across the 130 total there was variance in delivery of between 80% and 10%.

Mr Jerome said: “The worrying thing is there is quite a significant group of councils that really haven’t progressed on this agenda, and that’s been the case right from the start. It says something to you about intent and culture and behaviour.

“Some councils, I would say candidly, do not want to push this agenda and don’t like it. Other councils have mainstreamed it and some to the extent they are giving [personal budgets to] nearly everybody they support.”

He added: “Even after three years of this policy direction, there is huge unevenness. But overall the national picture is above the 30% of one million who get services on a regular basis.”

Mr Jerome identified bureaucracy as the largest challenge for the progamme. He said: “Process creep has been a major problem in this agenda. Professionals love process…Everybody creates an incredibly bureaucratic process, none of which was asked for.”

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