Personal budgets in social care are sums of money allocated by a local authority to service users to be spent on services to meet their care needs. They can be managed on behalf of users by the authority, or a third party, or given to users as direct payments: money to spend themselves. They enable users to have more choice and control over the services they receive, tailoring their care to their personal circumstances and the outcomes they want to achieve. In 2014–15, local authorities spent around £6.3 billion on long-term social care for users in the community, including around 500,000 users whose social care services were paid for through personal budgets. The Care Act 2014 required local authorities to give all eligible users a personal budget from April 2015, embedding the personalisation of care services into the legal framework for adult social care. The need for social care is rising as people live longer with long-term and complex health conditions. Between 2010–11 and 2014–15, English local authorities’ spend on adult social care fell by 7% in real-terms.
2 June 2016