A Personalisation Dawn
It’s D Day. Day one of our great Personalisation adventure. Today is the start of Steven receiving a personal budget to meet his care needs. I arranged for a lone piper to play Colonel Bogey outside my window this morning to herald this new dawn but he got held up on the Piccadilly Line.
It all started back in November when Steven had his Fairer Access to Care Services assessment and I was told that his budget would have to be cut as it was too expensive. After a bit of digging, I stumbled across the shocking fact that the agencies commissioned to provide the services were making a 54% profit out of Steven’s care. They were trousering over half the money the council were allocating for Steven. But under the Fairer scheme, it was seen as okay for Steven to have a huge cut in his budget whilst the providers continue to take their cut. Welcome to the world of adult social care 2014.
I put a proposal together where I managed the whole budget, cutting out both the support agency and the cab firm. I would pay the support workers direct, which was a real winner for them as I could pay them an extra £2 an hour more than the agency paid them. Same with the cab firm – I could pay the drivers a cash fare and do away with hefty account charges.
After much toing and froing, the council agreed. I saved them a third of what they had previously been paying out. And I saved Steven losing out of any of his activities or support workers. BUt almost immediately, another set of middle men came into the picture, wanting their cut of Steven’s money. The council load their personal budgets onto prepaid cards and everytime the card is used, the card company take a cut. The council also expected me to use a payroll company to administer the wages and surprise, surprise, they also take a slice of the budget as well. When councils made the decision to outsource practically all its functions, it left the door open for the vultures to see a rich feed from our disabled dudes.
I’m a stubborn bastard and having got rid of one lot of middle men, I couldn’t entertain a new lot moving in. I said that I would manage the payroll myself. And to stop the card company creaming, I’d make one transfer a month from the card into the old direct payment account and pay all the wages and cab fares from there. The card company make a profit out of that of …… 50p per month. I can live with 50p a month.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written employment contracts, negotiated salaries, haggled over the cost of the cab fares (The old cab firm stuck rigidly to their figures, so it has meant we start with a new cab firm today), designed time sheets and payslips, set up tax accounts on the HMRC website, wrestled with the issue of employers national insurance contributions, planned supervision and training for the support workers, sat passively through a fairer charging policy assessment and had more meetings with interested parties than you can imagine.
I’ve been trumpeted by the personalisation Evangelists but it doesn’t feel like a success at all. It feels like bloody hard work – partly through my own obstinacy but mostly through the incredible bureaucratic systems that don’t feel the slightest bit helpful.
In one fell swoop. I’ve gone from being a Dad and a carer to an employer of five staff, and all that entails. I can see why personalisation fails – it is too complicated, too hard work, too time consuming.
And let’s remember what this is all about. I have become a major employer so that Steven can go to the gym and the swimming baths and have support for times when I’m at work.
So he can have a life basically.
From → Social Care