Johnson unveils personal budgets for social care

Johnson promises 'radical' change for social care
Johnson promises 'radical' change for social care

The government today announced plans to give people in need of social care personal budgets to commission their own services.

Health secretary Alan Johnson said the plan for Personal Care Budgets would "transform" care for older and disabled people.

The scheme is being rolled out across the country following successful pilot trials and is backed by six Cabinet ministers.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said: "Support for individuals and families when they need it is of vital importance to all of us.

"These proposals for personal budgets will allow all those who would benefit from a personal budget to receive one, putting real control into the hands of those in care and their carers, leading to far more personal and responsive care."

Mr Johnson explained the Putting People First initiative will mean the "vast majority" of people that receive social care will have their own budget.

This will be supported by a £520 million ring-fenced grant from central to local governments, delivered as a Social Care Reform grant.

As part of the government's bid to improve dignity in care, the scheme will also empower local councils and NHS organisations to stop using poor-performing care homes and day services.

Outlining Putting People First today, Mr Johnson said: "One of my top priorities is to develop a new care system which gives people maximum control over their own support services

"This is a groundbreaking concordat because it is the first ever attempt by central government to co-produce a major public service reform in this case with local government, the NHS, people who use services and their carers.

"Our commitment that the majority of social care funding will be controlled by individuals, though personal budgets represents a radical transfer of power from the state to the public.

"Everyone, irrespective of their illness or disability, has the right to self determinations and maximum control over their own lives."

He added: "Having announced our intention to produce a green paper on the long-term reform of social care funds, it is essential we also seek significant improvements to the existing care system."

Although welcoming the increased power for service users, the Liberal Democrats said government social care policy still needed to be more ambitious.

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "This should not be restricted to social care alone. The government must look at ways of giving greater power to those using mental health services and those with long-term chronic conditions."


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