What is a personal budget and how can it help you?

It is often said that budgeting is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are in control of your money, rather than your money being in control of you. The Personalisation Agenda is set up to do just that; to give you the authority of your funds. This means that with help of social care staff, you will be responsible for exactly how your needs are met.

So what exactly is it?

‘Personalisation’ has been named the new way to manage healthcare. It’s a government policy that came in to affect as of 2008 and is an amount of money given to you that is assessment based. The aim is to introduce a different element of mental health services and support, placing emphases on the social aspect. All you have to do is demonstrate that the money you’re receiving is contributing towards improving health, wellbeing, safety and independence.

How does it work?

Firstly you need to find out what you’re eligible to receive, which the council is in control of. Secondly, if you are granted a Personal Budget it’s entirely up to you to manage it by getting direct payments. Alternatively, you can have it managed by your local council or by someone else in line if you wish. It can be used for a number of different reasons; for example, you may want the allocated money to be used for somebody to go shopping for you, if you’re having difficulty, or to go to the social club where you can meet with friends. Above all else, during the support planning phase you need to work out how this money can help achieve agreed outcomes benefiting you.

Why has it been introduced?

While the scheme was introduced in 2008, it wasn’t until April 2013 that all councils were able to offer Person Budgets. By putting control back in to the hands of the participant, this allows a more flexible approach to how money in care is spent. The council has a duty and a responsibility to offer direct payments to organise your own healthcare, if you’re willing and able to do so, government has acknowledged this and has recognised the importance of a self-managed payment plan.

How effective will it be?

The increased choice and control provided by a Personal Budget is enabling people who need it far greater variety in terms of personal preference. Each individual’s needs are different; therefore this initiative has realised this and created a ‘one size fits all’ system. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and goes a long way in ensuring a approach to healthcare suits all.

For more information on Personal Budgets, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or look at the website: www.personalisationagenda.org.uk