Personal budgets are a new way of giving disabled and older people unprecedented control over the health and social care services they use. Their use is rapidly expanding: within the next four years 1.5 million people are set to be using personal budgets, up from just 60,000 current users. This will clearly have a dramatic impact on health and social care provision.
But because personal budgets are still very new there is limited information on their use and how this impacts on commissioners and providers. This means many local authorities and care providers are facing a sea-change in how care will be planned and purchased, without a clear idea of how best to prepare.
Demos began the Personal Budget Market Intelligence project in 2009, which gathered data from 269 care users in four local authorities. The project sought to establish what people eligible for personal budgets know and think about them and how they would spend them. The research produced At Your Service, a report which examined on the potential impact of personal budgets on the health and social care market.
This year, Demos is building on that original research, working with nine more local authorities to gather data from existing and potential personal budget holders: generating the largest database of personal budget market intelligence in the country. We estimate our sample will include 2,200 care uses by the end of 2010.
We will soon publish a follow-up to At Your Service, combining our original 2009 data with the first six local authorities we worked with this year. This will provide more detail on how personal budgets are affecting local markets now, and will show that the future implications for providers and commissioners are significant and wide-ranging.
If you would like any more information about our Personal Budget Market Intelligence project, or if you are a care provider or local authority and would like to participate in gathering data in your area, please contact Claudia Wood.
This pamphlet examines the use of personal budgets in funding social care.