This report advocates a simple yet transformational approach to public services – self-directed services – which allocate people budgets so they can shape, with the advice of professionals and peers, the support they need. This participative approach delivers personalised, lasting solutions to people’s needs at lower cost than traditional, inflexible and top-down approaches, by mobilising the intelligence of thousands of service users to devise better solutions.
The self-directed services revolution, which began in social care with young disabled adults designing and commissioning their own packages of support, could transform public services used by millions of people, with budgets worth tens of billions of pounds. From older people to ex-offenders, maternity to youth services, mental health to long-term health conditions, self-directed services enable people to create solutions that work for them and as a result deliver better value for money for the taxpayer.
Self-directed services can be taken to scale safely while minimising fraud and risk. They can also be good for equity because they empower those people who are the least confident and able to get what they want from the current system. Self-directed services give people a real voice in shaping the service they want and the money to back it up. Previous approaches to public service reform have reorganised and rationalised public services. Self-directed services transform them.
A new year return for the Demos podcast. This time we’re talking about the new pamphlet Making It Personal. Just before the launch, at a day-long conference held last Friday, Peter Bradwell spoke to two of the authors, Niamh Gallagher and Jamie Bartlett.
The pamphlet explores, with a focus on social care, the next stage of a personalising approach to public services: people given an individual budget so they can shape, with the advice of peers, family and professionals, the support they need. Niamh and Jamie discuss why these self-directed services are such an important transformation of how traditional public services work, and what impact they really have.