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One of the strange outcome of personalisation, is that a process designed to give people more control, has led to hundreds of people losing control over their own welfare and financial decisions!
Glasgow, already the Guardianship Capital of Scotland with 20% of all applications are has seen yet another big rise in applications in 2012. And we know of many more families making applications in 2013.
The biggest increase is in guardianships that last for 5 years before they have to be renewed.
The rise in applications is linked to family members ensuring they have a right to participate in the assessment and support plan process.
More social work time will be spent on monitoring these orders. Along with the increased care and financial assessments, we will have seen a huge rise in backroom bureaucracy when we were meant to see less state interference.
IMAGINE you were born into a community where school attendance is low, unemployment is high and money is scarce. The majority of families complain about their ‘lot’ but feel they can do little to improve it. Your mother knows life doesn’t have to be like this and puts all her energy into helping and encouraging you from the moment you were born to strive for something better. Everywhere you go you are judged and you face discrimination because of where you live, what school you go to and how you speak i.e. Glesga slang. Despite all these barriers you never lose hope because you believe that hard work and determination will win in the end. Your aspirations are simple – you want a qualification, a job, friends and a social life, the occasional holiday but most of all you want/you NEED to feel that you are a worthwhile human being. Eventually your hard work pays off! You pass exams; you find the job and with it come the friends and the social life. In fact you have worked so hard that you are earning enough to pay for that holiday once a year AND run a small car AND treat yourself to a nice meal out once in a while. Your self esteem increases, at last you have earned the respect of your fellow citizens and your days of being treated as second class citizen are over.
A recent legal case decided in the Supreme Court is very important for people who have been through the personalisation process or are about to go through it.
KM v Cambridgeshire County Council (2012) was about the level of service that KM, a profoundly disabled man was to get after the council chose to use a Resource Allocation System (RAS) to plan his budget. KM lost the case but the judgement in the case clarified the law in an important way.
This RAS model is similar to that being used in Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and being planned in many other council areas. People who go through this can now expect the following:
1. The local authority must provide an explanation of how they arrived at the final budget to be offered to an individual and must relate that explanation to the level of needs that the individual had been assessed as having.
2. The local authority must provide a second explanation detailing how this budget can be used to meet the assessed needs. This must be a real explanation based on actual costs of service that the individual could purchase with that budget and should also include an explanation of what support will be provided by family or friends (referred to in the judgement as “Natural Supports”)
The assessment process in Glasgow.
The backbone of the personalisation process in Glasgow is a short form of assessment that was originally issued as a “Self Assessment Questionnaire” but in its latest version has been issued as a “Self Evaluation Questionnaire”, (SEQ).
This is designed as a simple assessment that can outline the needs of service users relatively quickly by looking at where people need help to achieve a range of social care “outcomes”. This SEQ is then used to allocate a number of points depending on particular answers to each question. The total number of points allocated is then used to establish an Indicative Budget which should form the basis for meeting a person’s needs.
A number of concerns have arisen over the assessment.
•It has not involved the service user themselves in most cases
•It was originally intended for use by trained social work staff but was in practice, carried out be staff employed by providers.
•Training given to providers was limited and there was no guarantee that staff completing had been trained
•Some staff did not have a full understanding of the needs of the service user being assessed.
•Many of the questions were vague or ambiguous.
•Some staff completing assessments ignored the views or interests of welfare guardians
•The SEQ was inadequate as an assessment of need and should have been used as a supplementary assessment.
•There was an abrogation of responsibility by the local authority in its duty to carry out an assessment of people in need of community care services.
In this essay the author explores some of the implementation problems that are currently limiting the successful implementation of personalisation and the use of Individual Budgets.
Is Personalisation Dead?
Well, of course it all depends what you mean by personalisation.
In fact the term personalisation, while potentially useful, is highly ambiguous. A cynic might even say that this was exactly why Charles Leadbeater chose the term - it seems so inoffensive and reasonable - Who could be against personalisation?
Not personalisation, but citizenship
The term personalisation was applied backwards, to describe ideas and practices that have always been challenging and difficult, and all of which were developed before the term personalisation was used to describe them: