This post is one of a series of reflections on the Right to Control Trailblazer work in Essex over the last few months. For an overview of the work, and an introduction to this post, please see the opening post of this series.
The Right to Control Trailblazer learnt from one of the significant problems with the Individual Budget pilots and is looking to ensure there is a solid regulatory basis for the Trailblazers to start from. Indeed, dedicated Regulations for the Trailblazers will be in place before the Trailblazers begin delivery to the public later this year.
One significant challenge is aligning services in which some agencies have statutory obligations (such as adult social care) and others only discretionary choices (such as the Disabled Facilities Grant) – something the Regulations won’t change. The concern here is that the statutory obligation trumps everything else – not just discretionary choices, but also a potentially innovative way of doing things.
It would be my argument that a Trailblazer is, by definition, the place for such innovations to be tested. To this end, any Regulations don’t just have to be restrictive in the sense they limit what can be done. For me, they can also be enabling in order to give local agencies the chance to test if something works better than it does at present.