It has been the buzzword in social work and adult social care for at least the last three years. “Personalisation” was set to be the vehicle that would transform adult social services.
The idea was simple enough: just give money to people with a disability, enabling them to buy their own support services, rather than have a whole industry telling people what they could have from a very limited ”take it or leave it” local authority list.
Yet personalisation was never championed by social workers but instead by service user groups, politicians and senior managers. Hardly surprising, therefore, is the news that a recent survey has found that social workers believe personalisation will fail and that only a minority believe service users will benefit from individual budgets.
It was always in danger of over promising and under delivering; all the more so now it is finance driven rather than practise led. The brave thing to do would be to retain it as an option but recognise it has been oversold and scale the whole thing back. In reality this is what is likely to happen but not likely to be ever stated.
Personalisation fits with the Tory party ideology on choice and control; it shifts service away from the public sector, but giving people the money isn’t very attractive when budgets are being cut. What you’re likely to be given isn’t likely to buy you what you need, never mind what you want.
So targets for personalisation are likely to be quietly dropped, the government’s way of indicating to senior managers and local politicians that they have lost interest and moved on to something else.
Not much point in introducing it into the NHS then.