Journal Article

Direct Payments and Disabled People in the UK: Supply, Demand and Devolution

Mark Priestley, Debbie Jolly, Charlotte Pearson, Sheila Ridell, Colin Barnes and Geof Mercer

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 7, pages 1189-1204
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Direct Payments and Disabled People in the UK: Supply, Demand and Devolution

Show Summary Details


Direct payments have brought new opportunities for self-determination and independent living to disabled people in the UK, featuring prominently in government strategy and the 2006 White Paper, ‘Our Health, Our Care, Our Say’. However, ten years after direct payments legislation, take-up remains low and implementation varies greatly. Rates of take-up in England remain more than double those in other parts of the UK, raising questions about devolution and equity. This paper presents data from a national study to examine some of the mechanisms underlying uneven outcomes for disabled people in different parts of the United Kingdom, with particular reference to the politics of devolved governance. The analysis focuses on scope for interpretations of policy; resources for information and training; the impact of mandatory duties and targets; extensions to new user groups; and the role of support organizations and disability activism. The evidence suggests that local variations have been produced not only by ‘local’ factors, but also by different opportunity structures for policy development in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This raises questions about the impact of devolution on equity and opportunity for disabled people in the UK.

Keywords: disability; policy implementation; direct payments; devolution

Journal Article.  6889 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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