Journal Article

Individual Budgets: Lessons from Early Users' Experiences

Parvaneh Rabiee, Nicola Moran and Caroline Glendinning

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 5, pages 918-935
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Individual Budgets: Lessons from Early Users' Experiences

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Within the context of modernization, there has been a trend towards ‘cash-for-care’ schemes designed to bring choice and control closer to the service user. In England, Individual Budgets (IBs) are being piloted, with the aim of promoting personalized support for disabled people and other users of social care services. This paper reports on the experiences and outcomes of early IB users two to three months after first being offered an IB. The users included adults with physical/sensory impairments, learning difficulties, mental health problems and older people. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with nine service users and five proxies. The findings suggest that IBs have the potential to be innovative and life-enhancing. However, achieving this potential in practice depends on a range of other factors, including changes in the routine practices and organizational culture of adult social care services and ensuring users have access to appropriate documentation and support. Any conclusions drawn from the experiences of these early IB users must be treated with caution. The findings nevertheless indicate some of the issues that will need to be addressed as IBs are implemented more widely to replace conventional forms of adult social care provision.

Keywords: ageing and older people; flexible services; disability; empowerment; Individual Budgets

Journal Article.  6981 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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