Personalisation: lessons from social care

The twin challenges of quality and funding loom large over the adult social care sector. Age UK has argued that the future sustainability of long term care will require a rise in public spending from 0.5% to 0.9% of GDP: an extra £2–3 billion a year from 2015.* Andrew Dilnot, chair of a recent commission into the future funding of social care, called the system ‘confusing, unfair and unsustainable’. There is consensus about the need for change in the way we fund, manage and deliver social care. But we do not yet agree about what kind of change is needed, nor what should be the balance of responsibility between individu­als, families, communities, providers and the state. The agenda is being led by events, and reform agendas in the NHS, local government and beyond are ensuring that the social care policy horizon keeps shifting.

Amidst this shifting set of policies and realities, there has been remark­able consistency around the need for greater personalisation of public services and a bottom-up, integrated approach. Today’s focus on direct payments and personal budgets is part of a long-term transition from institutional to community-based care, and towards the co-design and co-production of services. Now is the right time to ask where this transition takes us next and whether it stops with social care and health.

As Alex Fox shows in this thoughtful paper authored for RSA 2020 Public Services at the RSA, the personalisation agenda encourages innovation, offering the potential to create new markets around localised and individual needs, to focus fiscal resources directly and discretely, and to enable small groups of individuals to ‘positively disrupt’ a complex and opaque system. These are all developments to be welcomed. Yet the success of the personalisation agenda in future will depend upon answering some even more fundamental questions about the nature of future supply and demand for public services.

Most crucially, these questions go beyond the capabilities of the indi­vidual, and beyond the mechanics of how health and care services are funded. As this paper suggests, this means exploring what the role of families, communities and collaborative groups could be in design­ing and providing support and creating inclusive communities. It means defining what is needed to catalyse and sustain a much broader market of services that would take personalisation to the next level. It means asking what government, citizens and the market can do to scale pilots and piece­meal change into long term transformational change for the sector.

To read the report, please click here.

Posted on 19th April 2012 by Atif Shafique

3 Responses to “Personalisation: lessons from social care”

  1. [...] Hub at the RSA organised an expert roundtable to launch new papers on social care authored by Alex Fox and Dr Craig Berry. The roundtable brought together a range of stakeholders and experts, including [...]

  2. [...] the social care sector. The Royal Society of Arts has just published a paper on this subject called Personalisation: lessons from social care, in which I set out these lessons in more detail. Rate this: Share this:FacebookLike this:LikeBe [...]

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