On 3 May 2006 in a written ministerial statement, I announced details of a strategic review of the independent living funds which concluded in January 2007.
I welcome the thorough review of the independent living funds that has been conducted by Melanie Henwood and Bob Hudson. Their report comes at an important point in the evolution of social care and it is critical that the funds’ customers do not lose the valuable support that the funds currently provide.
I recognise the ground-breaking role which the ILFs have played in developing a model of cash for care over the past 19 years and how important their services are to the disabled people who use the funds to enable them to live independently.
The reviewers have recommended that through to 2009-10 the funds should remain in their present form while making considerable improvements. In the longer term however, they recommend that there should be a smooth transition towards full integration within a system of personalised budgets because it is anomalous to retain a separate public body operating in parallel to the mainstream of independent living.
The Government will consider these recommendations and their implications for severely disabled people and for the social care system across the UK, and we aim to publish our initial response to the report before the summer recess.
A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.