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House of Commons Hansard
23 March 2010
Volume 508
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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people are receiving direct payments for carers in each local authority area; [323375]

(2) how much funding has been allocated in each local authority area to administer personalised budgets in the next 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the number of (a) existing and (b) new recipients that will receive personalised budgets in each such area in the next 12 months;

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of local authorities which will reach the 30 per cent. target for the number of people able to access personalised budgets for social care; and what steps he plans to take in relation to those authorities which do not reach that target;

(4) what guidance his Department is providing to local authorities on turning personalised budgets into direct payments; and what programmes have been established to assist this process.

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Data on the number of carers (aged 16 and over who are caring for adults aged 18 and over) in receipt of direct payments from councils with adult social services responsibilities (CASSRs) are collected and published by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care. Provisional data on the total numbers of carers in receipt of direct payments during the year 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009, by CASSR are available and a copy has been placed in the Library. Final data for 2008-09 are expected to be published on 28 April 2010.

The Department has given councils an Adult Social Care Reform Grant of £520 million to spend over three years from April 2008. This will enable them to make their social care services more personalised. It is a local decision about how much the local authority chooses to spend to administer personal budgets, which is only one part of the transformation programme. The Department does not collect prospective information. However, the Association for Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has estimated that 200,000 people are likely to have a personal budget by April 2010.

Although the Department collects information retrospectively on the number of people who receive personal budgets, no official estimate has been made of the number of councils that will have provided personal budgets to 30 per cent, of people eligible to receive community care services by April 2011. ADASS are currently undertaking a survey to identify council's progress and this report will be published in the summer.

Councils which do not meet the target will be identified by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as part of their monitoring role. The Department has been working closely with CQC to ensure that a consistent message is delivered to councils.

The following guidance and programmes have been provided to councils to help them operate and use direct payments and personal budgets:

Personal budgets for older people—making it happen (January 2010). This guide focuses on how councils can make personal budgets work well for older people and their families. It looks at how to ensure personal budgets are accessible, simple to use, flexible and help to achieve the things that matter most to the people using them. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Personal Budgets: Council Commissioned Services (January 2010). ADASS produced further advice on how personal budgets can work well for people who use council-commissioned services rather than a direct payment.

ADASS and the Department published a set of materials which aim to help councils make progress with implementing ‘Putting People First (2007) (PPF)’ a copy of which has already been placed in the Library. These bring together the latest learning from councils and are linked to the PPF milestones agreed between ADASS, the Local Government Association and the Department in September 2009. These materials include:

PPF operating models: early learning (October 2009). This resource was published by ADASS which provides advice and examples showing how innovative councils are approaching the transformation of their systems and the lessons they are learning.

Guidance on direct payments: For community care, services for carers and children's services (September 2009). This departmental guidance provides information on how local councils might operate direct payments. It reflects the changes brought about by the new regulations and supersedes the ‘Direct Payments guidance: community care, services for carers and children's services (Direct Payments) guidance England 2003’. It also reflects the Government's commitment to support independence, choice and control, as set out in Putting People First; A shared vision and commitment to the transformation of Adult Social Care and Aiming high for disabled children.

The Department has also published a self-assessment and action planning guide (May 2007) to support councils and their partners. These local solutions have been collated to form a web-based nation solution set which is available at: