The team believed personalisation is a major driving force in public sector welfare reform. They wanted to create care and support services which place the individual at the heart of process, recognising they are a person with their own unique strengths, weaknesses, preferences and aspirations.
Who and where?
Stockport CCG, Stockport Council and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and local charities and voluntary agencies. Key people included Nick Dixon (Social Worker and Commissioning Manager, Stockport Council), Carmel Bailey (Social Care Lead, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust) and Terry Dafter (Director for Adult Services, Stockport Council).
A new Prevention and Personalisation Service included pathway planners to guide service users through the three stages of the pathway planning process: 1) Initial emotional support for the service user 2) Identifying aspirations and life goals 3) Overcoming barriers. Personal budgets are arranged with a personalisation coordinator and used for things such as gym memberships, computers, childcare, bicycles, walking shoes, gardening tools, respite care, pet care, transport and much more.
Stockport provided on-going training to continually refresh and reinforce the benefits and the cultural change required. They provided venues for staff to talk openly about their anxieties regarding a very different way of working. The authority also commissioned an evaluation of the initiative.
In three years 350 people were receiving a personal budget. In the first 18 months, 100 people were discharged from services, as their outcomes were successfully met with personal budgets tailored to their needs – reducing dependency on traditional services. Initial increases in short term costs, levelled out after three years.
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Senior support is crucial at the onset to inspire confidence in the long term benefits, despite initial costs.
Ensure service users and an independent brokerage service are represented on the steering group for healthy challenge and open conversations.