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Personal social care budgets extended

17 November 2011

Hot on the heels of the spending review, the government has announced plans to extend the personal social care budget scheme from the current 213,000 service users to one million by 2013. This optimistic target is the cornerstone of the drive to shift responsibility for social care provision from the state to the individual, empowering them to access the private market to purchase their care needs.

Theoretically this will take the pressure off local authorities and provide service users with choice, control and independence.

However, an Audit Commission report on the progress of the scheme in October highlighted problems with implementation. It felt significant work was required to communicate the benefits of the system. It had particular concern over deficiencies in support provided to people with mental health needs, despite evidence that mental health service users would be major beneficiaries of the programme.

If the government wants the take-up of this scheme to increase dramatically, and it says it does, these problems must be addressed.

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