This study of national safeguarding and personal budgets (PBs) data found no strong evidence to suggest higher levels of safeguarding referrals among people with Managed Personal Budgets or using Direct Payments compared with all social care users.

The study found that in the three councils studied in depth, there were similar proportions of safeguarding referrals for people with PBs and those using council commissioned services. However, there was a statistically significant higher proportion of referrals for financial abuse and abuse by home care workers among people using PBs; discrepancies between national data, summarised to the council level and individual level local data, suggest the need for better national data – enabling more confidence that national summaries reflect the sum of individual cases; helping people to balance risk and choice when they use DP or MPB is now one of the most important practice activities for social workers; monitoring (particularly financial monitoring) and review are important ways of identifying potential risks of abuse; processes for investigating safeguarding referrals are similar for PB users and other adults at risk; DP and MPB users reported a lack of information about managing risk and funding options, plus insufficient support for being an employer. Many said they did not know that the council had investigated a concern about their possible abuse. These experiences contrasted with professionals’ views that they provided information and support while they were investigating these concerns.

Risk, safeguarding and personal budgets: exploring relationships and identifying good practice
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