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A Slice of Personalisation Reality

February 21, 2014

Remember that phrase – “Just so Steven can go swimming”?

Here is my diary for next week. Every day is a 6am start to let the support worker in.

A.M – Direct payments pay day and quarterly return to LA
P.M – Direct payment worker on leave. No money in budget to pay replacement, so have to take afternoon off work. Mr Bean session.
Evening – Not a respite week, so probably have a Muriel’s Wedding evening.

A.M. – Meeting with cab firm to discuss fares and contracts after personal budget implemented.
P.M. – Visit from Office of Public Guardian to look at accounts and discuss property & affairs deputy.
Evening – Marathon music video & dvd session

A.M. – Chase up the council refunding the overpaid council tax. Chase up ex-landlady over return of deposit on old flat. Finish writing contracts for support workers for post personal budget.
P.M. & Evening – At work

9am to 2pm – Work
P.M. – Weekly Shopping & book hotel for next week’s conference
Evening – Fawlty Towers session

9am to 3pm – Work
P.M. Chase up results of Steven’s XRAY and chase up date for ultra sound scan
Evening – Book cabs for next week. Meeting with support worker to discuss his time keeping.

A.M. – Work
P.M – Do a cover versions tape with Steven and then watch Gladiators video
Evening – Another marathon music video and dvd session

A.M. – Housework, followed by Mencap Pool
P.M. – Do the follow up paperwork for the direct payment tax return.
Evening – Write up final contracts and my plan for the personal budget for the support planner’s approval.

Obviously, each day includes doing Steven’s baths and cooking the meals. And there may have to be room made some time during the week if (a) the appointment for the scan comes through, or (b) Steven’s pain gets worse and we’ll have to go back again to the GPs

I’d like this to be my last post with “Personalisation” in the title. I don’t want to hear any more from the personalisation crowd about how “liberating”, “joyful” and “full of choice and freedom” it is to have a personal budget.

Thank you.


From → Social Care

  1. Sally permalink

    So you get to do 2 and a half days of paid work -and seven days worth of admin etc etc concerning the personalisation stuff, and about six and a half full days of caring for someone who needs constant help .I am not sure when you are meant to sleep. God help you.
    And I admire so much what a happy life Steven is clearly having with you with music and movies and swimming.It is not fair that keeping these simple things going involves so much work dumped on one person.

    What drives me mad is that the amount of work it is assumed you will do with the budget isn’t even visible. The people pushing personal budgets simply airbrush out the fact that it rests on parents or carers doing vast amounts of unpaid work.We have to remember this. It is a saving strategy.

    Meanwhile, our children and ourselves have the joy of being stigmatised for receiving public funds.

    Its is clearly impossible for a carer to support themselves and the cared for on what they earn-unless you had some fabulously well paid, fabulously flexible occupation and squadrons of staff, and/or piles of inherited wealth.
    We need to shout about this. We need to be clear just how much work it involves, that it rests on the assumption that unpaid family will do it and there’s no provision, no responsibility taken for those who can’t.
    Mark I know you are sick of the topic, but I would so love to see you on any discussion panel about this up aginst some simpering official describing the benefits of Personalisation!

  2. Pauline Thomas permalink

    Sally you are spot on. How Mark copes on his own Is unbelievable. Our caring role is shared by my husband and I. I could not imagine doing this day after day on my own.

    My son has been out of the care of the social services since 2010. He had such a hard time adjusting to the changes in his day services that he has a melt down everytime the council services are mentioned. Actually I lie, when they were running down the services so they could correctly report that they were no longer needed, my son was introduced to ‘Tuck by Truck, which initially was being staffed by the old day centre staff and he loved it. However when the company began bringing in their own untrained staff everything went pear shaped for my son. One member of staff was saying that he needed a 1-1, but my son wanted to be independent, after all he was doing alright when the old staff were in charge. Ironically the company’s web site boasted that they encouraged ‘independence’. No they did not. My son could bear it no longer and he left, humilated and depressed. All my complaints to the company, and the LA’s commissioner were answered by the LA’s legal dept. and were so defensive that we caved in.

    Ashamedly I wish we could bundle him into the council minibus and order him to ‘like’ the appalling one and only day centre left in the borough which is so overcrowded, full of people and their 1-1 ‘carers’, So different from the other two centres they shut down. I would love to hang a banner across the entrance saying ‘abandon hope all who enter here’. Realistically we would not do that to him. he deserves better. Actually they all do.

  3. What keeps us going is when personalisation works it is worth every minute of hard work getting there.

    I totally relate to your week. It sounds a typical week of a parent ironically trying to combine personalisation with having a life. The balance between auditing, recruiting, stepping in last minute as the emergency PA, writing policies, contracts, timetables, oh and being nice to numerous people who we trust in our own home, and what was that word – oh privacy?? what is that? And those of us who are trying to work too – how does that fit in?

    I wrote an article on the pains of personalisation and tried to get the Guardian to use it. It was when our local authority had threatened to reduce our daughter’s budget to a minimal amount after we had written support plans, brought her up to have hopes and dreams, and they then just knocked all those aspirations out of the window.

    However, the paper were more interested than my daughter’s perspective than knowing the trials and tribulations of parent who tries to facilitate the processes of independence, choice and control.Those words that are easy to say but actually can be just seen by local authorities as cost cutting exercises.

    However, we continue saving our LA thousands and thousands of pounds. Because Choice and Control comes at a heavy price and hard work.
    And would we have it any other way? No, we don’t believe there is another way so Mark, let me know if you find one

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