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That Was The Personalisation Week That Was

September 20, 2014

My post from yesterday about more stresses arising from having a personal budget has prompted quite a bit of Twitter discussion. The number of views the post has had is very high as well, but most of my personalisation posts get way above average readership. I wonder whether people set up an alert for every time “personalisation” is mentioned. It would be rather spooky if all those people who declare themselves “passionate about personalisation” went beep whenever I press “publish”.

But nothing changes. And why should it. The LAs are delighted to have got rid of one pesky piece of their statutory duty. Having burdened the carer, why on earth would they want to take that burden back. And all the organisations that have sprung up or grown on the back of personalisation aren’t going to want any change – it would curtail their purpose. Their job is to discuss, sell and produce glossy brochures (thanks Ermintrude).

I thought I’d do a post laying the demands of a personal budget bare. This is my personalisation diary for the past week. It is important to note that the times I mention in this diary, aren’t just the times I spent working on the budget issues – they were the only times this week that I had when I wasn’t either caring for Steven or working. Apart from the 3 hours away on respite on Monday, every single spare moment this week has been taken up with personal budget processes. The bottom line of this diary is that there was no more time left in the week for me to attend to the business – not that I had completed all the business in this time.


8am – Go to Tescos for shopping & stop off at cashpoint to draw out money from DP account to pay the cab fares this week.

11.30am to 1pm – Try to make some sense of the HMRC form they’ve returned to me. Apparently, I’ve done something wrong with the national insurance contributions but for the life of me, I couldn’t see how or where.

Tuesday: No free time at all the whole day but bothered by social worker’s voicemail reminding me that it is important to have kept all my PB records up to date before Panel sits to consider my respite request.


2.30am to 3.15am – Suddenly wake up, anxious about yesterday’s phone message and the veiled threat. Find myself going through the pay slips and cab receipts for the past six months.

8.30am to 9.45am – Write long letter to social worker detailing why I need the increased respite. Tried to do a “competitive” costing in the hope it would win Panel over.

9pm to 9.30pm – Having arrived home from late shift at work and found Steven got out during the evening, have long discussion with support worker about incident and my expectations of him


915am to 9.40am (before my first client at work)- Had long phone discussion with local disability group about employment contract law and how to proceed with the incident from last night. Crestfallen with the response – sounded like the sort of process the LA would have to use with a member of their staff.

2.30pm to 3.45pm – Fancied a quick pint after the weekly shop but had to write formal letter to support worker following the advice this morning.


6.30pm to 7.20pm (whilst Steven at swimming) Did this week’s wages. Took slightly longer than usual as I had to calculate 1 extra night shift and extra hours for worker who came in early that day to help me take care of Steven whilst I dealt with the roofers.


8.30am to 9am (before my 1st client at work) Worked out the Sunday shifts & Monday respite shifts for October.

Still outstanding for tomorrow whilst Steven is at swimming – get back to the HMRC form.

I just want to stress again – this isn’t just the time I spent on the personal budget this week – it was the only time I had free and all free space was choc a bloc with PB tasks. I did get to watch an episode of Lewis whilst I was away on Monday night and I did spend an hour on Friday morning browsing furniture for my new flat. But that was the week.

Pretty much the same as every other week.


From → Social Care

  1. Jayne Knight permalink

    The amount of administration and management cannot be unrest imaged as you gave shown. I’m sure if people had decent social workers and fab agencies they would not usually go down this route. I find people gave been forced to do it because they don’t get a half decent service that meets their needs. With my own mum this is why I did it. But the employment of several care people is a small business. A small business has to have a business manager even if they don’t make any money! There us a huge industry around personalisation that is in my view useless to the average person getting a budget. The families I help have gone for it because they are at the end of their tether. Many now are friends and I know them so well I can do it for them as a friend. Some take a lot of time at the beginning but others do have complex situations and have been fought against and demonised sometimes as families by the very people that should help them. When you do wrestle it away then, as you know only too well, there is a sense of relief. So for the time being that’s what we are doing.

  2. Sally permalink

    Mark, everything you describe shows up what a mad gigantic con is the sell of Personal Budgets bringing choice, freedom, empowerment etc etc. I am stunned by how much hard work you have to do on this every single day.
    I’m sure councils accross the UK just can’t believe their good fortune. You are working solo. unpaid and untrained as payroll manager, director of human resources. accountant etc etc . Now, this involves a huge waste of your time and gross inefficiency . Better for one acountant to do all the payroll and forms in a trice than solitary, anxious parents wasting hours.Better for a human resorces department to have responsibility for the hiring, firing and supervision of their employees then parents trying to follow employment law in their own kitchens.
    Of course the point is that you are doing it free and you have taken all responsibility from their shoulders. They reserve the right to harrass you about the amount you get and your record keeping, but they have shrugged off most of their statutory duties towards Steven.
    Personal budgets would be banned in seconds if the time they demand from parents was put on the bill.Jayne is right-if people had decent social workers and fab agencies they wouldn’t go for PBs.
    Our LA is solving the problem of pests who shun PBs , by resetting their services criteria so that only a very small percentage of disabled people will now get any help at all. As a 5 page vague letter announced.Reading it, I imagine their caseload will drop to 3.

  3. Mark, I asked yesterday and ask again, do you get paid for this administration?

      • Pauline Thomas permalink

        This is exploitation. So now it seems you have to jump through more hoops to satisfy the panel. Who are the panel? What is the panel? Sounds more like the Spanish Inquisition It appears that Hillingdon would prefer to spend thousands and thousands of ratepayers money sending Steven to an institution where he would be medicated up to his eyeballs, than to give you, his loving father,a bit extra to make your life just a little bit more bearable. Not normal but just a bit more bearable.. This shameful abuse by LA’s to vulnerable families has got to be halted. The faceless panel need to spend a day in your shoes before they can pass any judgement.

  4. Weary Mother permalink

    Might be an idea for all of us, where we have refused direct payments, to request from the LA
    all records of when they monitored the support they hired on our behalf, and the outcome and improvements implemented (and monitored) and all if any HR action’s taken and reason for these actions…………… against staff HIRED BY THEM to support our son’s and daughters. And of course full story of all pat’s on back to the agencies doing a good job on our behalf.

    Or perhaps not, for they would only drag it out for ages……..and tell you nothing at all…………

    Might be an idea to copy Mark.

  5. It is a huge burden Mark. Just to say that I had to phone HMRC with a query recently and, although there was quite a wait, I got a lovely guy who explained very clearly and politely and made sure I understood.
    Also, not much encouragement at the moment I know, but as time passes with PB you will find things don’t take so long. eg – you now have your letter to the SW as a template should you, hopefully never, need it again.

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