Scope of the inquiry

Commissioning adult social care services through personal budgets and direct payments is an important way of giving care users more choice and control over their services. When implemented well they may improve users’ quality of life.

As such, the National Audit Office has undertaken to report on the Department of Health’s work in the area, to understand the effectiveness and value for money in terms of outcomes for users.

Local authorities spent £6.3 billion on long-term community care in 2014–15. Around 500,000 adults in England received personal budgets in 2014–15, varying between 10% and 100% of users across authorities. The Care Act made personal budgets mandatory for all eligible users from April 2015. Much of the positive evidence for personalising commissioning, however, is old or relates to subgroups of users.

In preparing the report, the NAO considered that there was a strong case for better use of existing surveys and evidence gathering, so the Department and its national partners can understand the relationship between the different ways to commission personalised services for users, and improvements in user outcomes.

Furthermore, the Department is extending personal budgets in healthcare and has an ambition that between 50,000 and 100,000 people will have a personal health budget by 2020.

Peter Beresford, chair of Shaping Our Lives presented evidence to the public accounts committee.  You can read the evidence here:

Written evidence from Shaping Our Lives