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The coalition government's vision for social care
Tuesday 16 November 2010
Increased use of personal budgets announced as part of care reform plans
The Department of Health has published its plans for adult social care in England.
'A Vision for Adult Social Care: Capable Communities and Active Citizens' sets out seven core principles for reforming social care.
It includes plans to roll out personal budgets to one million people by 2013. Personal budgets were introduced in 1996, and are currently used by 213,000 people. Through the In Control programme and as a result of Valuing People's focus on personalisation, the use of personal budgets among people with a learning disability has been high compared with other groups of social care users.
The vision also promotes 'big society' ideals, including the belief that local communities are best placed to watch over those who need care.
The plans call carers 'the first line of prevention' and propose that they are assigned personal budgets to let them take a break from caring responsibilities. In a statement, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow announced £400 million over the next four years to support carers' breaks.
Announcing the plans, Mr Burstow, said: "Often people find the social care system confusing, inflexible and not suited to their needs – that's not good enough. I want to see the vision brought into practice at a local level. Councils can offer more choice, control and flexibility over care, which is what people tell me they want."
David Congdon, Mencap's head of campaigns and policy, said: "Personal budgets empower people with a learning disability to live more independent lives, a luxury the rest of us take for granted.
"While the government's plans are a positive step towards people having more control over their lives, October's spending review has dramatically tightened local authority budgets so it's going to be hard for them to deliver this vision for social care. We hope that councils will do all they can to protect the frontline."
Timeline for reform
The current vision, along with a consultation paper, will be followed by key milestones towards the reform of social care in England:
- End 2010 – public health white paper
- Spring 2011 – Report from Law Commission on social care law
- Summer 2011 – Report from the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support
- End 2011 – care and support white paper (social care)
- Spring 2012 – social care reform bill