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Colin Slasberg and Peter Beresford have written a new paper about how the mission to deliver Self Directed Support is actually making it harder to deliver personalised services.
Their argument is
- There is no relationship between the allocation of up front budgets and the final budgets with many budgets being significantly less. The Resource Allocation Systems are disconnected from the process of actual budget allocation and are really a waste of time and resources. This is true whether the simple check box systems are used or the complex computer systems.
- The problem with the heart of the SDS system is that service users and families think it should be based on the "enough money" model which is "enough money to enable independent living and full citizenship." However local authorities are operating a "fair share" model based on "allocation of funding affordable with current authority budgets." Given that local councils in Scotland are "cash limited" then this creates real tensions and problems.
- Self Directed Support has led to an increase in bureaucracy. This is not due to the incompetence of local councils but due to the very nature of additional check box assessments and the subsequent management of resource allocation. The National Audit in Social Care has produce figures which show a loss of productivity by field social workers of 26.9% or nearly £500 million per year.
- Further evidence from Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework shows that there is now a slight trend downwards of the more people in a local authority who have self directed support packages, the less they feel in control of their lives. This runs counter to the received wisdom but can be explained by the next finding.
- The second national survey of personal budget holders found that people who had a direct payment had better outcomes. Those who had council managed personal budgets had more negative outcomes. Given that 90% of people with personal budgets are managed by councils, any in depth survey will turn up the fact that people have less control in this situation.
- Many people with Direct Payments are confident, assertive and can articulate their needs. Many people with learning disabilities or other vulnerable people will not be able to exert the same control.
- Personalisation remains a crucial goal and policy makers must take action to make sure it becomes a reality for all and not just for a minority.
This is a detailed and thought provoking paper that will need careful consideration by policy makers in Scotland. There is little point in pushing ahead with Self Directed Support if it does not lead to better personalisation but instead creates more bureaucracy and greater inefficiencies.
The article is published in hard copy and will become available online on this site in the near future.
Glasgow Self Evaluation Questionnaire has been a challenge for many people with learning disabilities and their families. You can download a copy of the SEQ here. You can also find out about the scoring system by clicking here. Finally you can work out what your individual budget might be by clicking on this version of the Resource Allocation System.
Concerns about the Assessment Process.
All councils have a legal duty under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 to make sure that the needs of vulnerable adults are properly assessed. Over the last two years the assessment process in Glasgow has been transformed in a way that had not been properly evaluated.
At the heart of this process are a set of Self Evaluation questions designed to be answered by the individual and compared to a judgement by a professional assessor.
But there are a number of real concerns about this that have not been addressed.
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland has worked with a number of people with learning disabilities to produce some easy to understand information about Self Directed Support in Scotland.
Helen's Story uses pictures and easy words to explain what it is all about. To download your copy please click here.
A number of councils in Scotland such as Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen City are using Self Evaluation Assessments. These are simple tick box assessments that are designed to allow individuals to participate quickly and easily in their assessments. They are also linked to individual budgets in the Self Directed Support process.
When a Self Evaluation Assessment is completed the results are used to allocate an "indicative" budget. This is the first stage budget. The budget is then used to draw up a plan to meet the assessed person's needs. If the budget is too much or too little an adjustment is then made.
THE political head of Scotland's largest social work department has been removed from his role, in a move opposition politicians claim is a sacking after a turbulent year. Glasgow's Matt Kerr will now become the city council's executive member for personnel, a post vacated following the death earlier this month of fellow Labour councillor George Ryan.
Glasgow social work has been subject to a lot of questions and scrutiny over the implementation of a controversial version of personalisation. Many users and carers felt this was more about cuts than giving people choice. Only last Friday a number of carers spoke to the Glasgow Herald over concerns about their care services and their concerns about bullying.