Snippets from a study on #personalisation

Yesterday, I cross-posted a blogpost on learning from Personal Budgets for Personal Health Budgets. The learning comes from general experience, as well as from the results of a 3-year study I’ve been involved with looking at the long-term impact of Personal Budgets on users.

I opened my post as follows:

Personalisation – and Personal Budgets in particular – are making a positive difference in the lives of lots of different people of different ages and impairment groups.

I did so deliberately: personalisation seems to have been getting quite a rough deal over the last 18 months, especially since its benefits aren’t being felt equally by all groups and seems to mean less is being spent on people. Personally, I think such views conflate a number of issues, including implementation, budgetary pressures and a lack of appropriate support.

If I had to summarise my feelings, I’d say the following: there is a legitimate debate to be had about how best to ensure personalisation is implemented such that it benefits everyone equally; in my view, that’s a different debate to one that challenges personalisation per se.

Still, it’s not good enough to have these debates in the abstract, or to talk about disrupting or innovating a system to within an inch of its life without really understanding what’s going on, and the 3-year study is one attempt to explore the issues fully over a period of time (rather than a snapshot)

The full report and 5 briefings will be available soon. In the meantime, below are 3 videos which capture the stories of 3 people and the impact Personal Budgets have had for them, now they’ve been receiving them for a long period of time.

You can also see these videos with subtitles and more background / description here:


3 steps to Making It Real for DPULOs (#dpulo)

Personalisation is the driving force for making adult social care as good as it can be for as many people as possible – irrespective of their age, impairment group, or amount of money they have.

In a system as vast and complicated as adult social care, there will always be difficulties in translating this vision into reality.

To address this problem, the Think Local, Act Personal partnership has established “Making It Real”.

Making It Real sets out what people expect to see and experience in their experience of adult social care if it is truly personalised. There are a number of are set of “progress markers” – written by real people and families – that can help any organisation to check how they are going towards making adult social care personalised.

Making It Real isn’t a top-down, tick box exercise: it is ultimately a voluntary tool that empowers users and their organisations to ensure personalisation happens in their local communities.

The markers of Making It Real can be used by any organisation – a local council, a provider of care services, or a local voluntary sector organisation.

I strongly feel that Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations (DPULOs) have a key role in Making It Real. This role is in two ways:

  1. Leading from the front and signing up themselves to Making It Real and demonstrating their commitment to making personalisation a reality
  2. Using Making It Real to ensure local councils and providers are doing as much as they can to make personalisation a reality.

I’d argue this is what DPULOs do anyway – on both the “business” side (i.e. number 1) and on the “voice” side (i.e. number 2). But Making It Real would be an additional way of formalising these roles so that others (particularly councils) might recognise and value.

The Making It Real website has a couple of examples of organisations that have put Making It Real into practice. There are also some great examples of DPULOs that have already done this, too – including Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People and an exciting project in the north west region that is going to start soon.

The Strengthening DPULOs Programme will do more to understand how DPULOs can get involved in Making It Real as well as regularly promote what MIR is and how DPULOs can get involved.

In the meantime, here are 3 steps I’d encourage you to take if you’re a DPULO that wants to get involved in Making It Real:

  1. Find out more about Making It Real by spending 10 minutes on the website. There are a number of regional networks for Making It Real – you can find out if there’s one in your region and get involved by approaching the member of the ADASS personalisation policy network in your area (click on the relevant bit of the map here)
  2. Have an internal discussion – either in your management team or with your Management Board – about signing your organisation up (the steps to do so are detailed here) to Making It Real. You can get help with this by downloading other people’s action plans to see what they’re doing for Making It Real
  3. Contact your local council and find out if they’ve signed up to Making It Real. For example, they might want to use Making It Real to help with their Local Accounts in reporting to local populations on progress in adult social care. Similarly, if you know any social care providers in your local area you could ask them to. (A list of organisations that have signed up and a map of them is available here.)