Personalisation and innovation in a cold financial climate

Brookes N, Callaghan L, Netten A, Fox D

British Journal of Social Work 2013, 45, 1: 86—103

Available online 5 Jun 2013


There are many drivers for change and innovation in adult social care and one of the most significant is the personalisation agenda; however, whilst resources are always limited, this does have its roots in a more relaxed financial climate than currently prevails. This article draws on findings from a scoping study which aimed to identify future areas for research to assist councils in developing and commissioning personalised services. Twenty local authorities were surveyed and in three case study areas, interviews and focus groups conducted with staff and service users to explore progress with personalisation and identify innovative practice. Although, at the time of the study, the impact of resource reductions had yet to be felt, budget cuts were seen as a potential impediment to future developments. The innovative practice identified demonstrated approaches to tackling some of the challenges of personalising social care and a commitment from practitioners and commissioners to find ways to do this. However, it remains to be seen whether the cold financial climate results in a top-down prescriptive approach to personalisation or leads to local innovation to enable people to make decisions about their needs.