Glendinning C, Mitchell W, Brooks J
Health and Social Care in the Community 2015, 23, 1: 23—32
Available online 21 Oct 2014
Carers play an ambiguous role within the personalisation paradigm currently shaping adult social care practice in England. Although carers have rights to assessments and support in their own right, these rights sit uneasily alongside the practices of assessment, support planning and personal budget (PB) allocation for older and disabled people. This paper reports how 14 dyads of older and learning disabled people with cognitive and/or communication impairments and their carers viewed the roles – desired and actual – played by carers in PBs. Interviews with carers and with older and disabled people were conducted during 2012 as part of a wider study into carers’ roles in assessment, support planning and managing PBs. The interviews complemented a survey of reported practice in two English regions – interviews with adult social care services senior managers and focus groups with front-line care managers. Talking Mats© were used to support interviews with some service users. Interviews were transcribed and data analysed using the Framework approach. The interviews indicated that carers played important roles in service users’ assessments and support planning, but were less likely to report receiving assessments or support of their own. While carers had the potential to benefit from PBs and support arrangements for service users, this did not reflect practice that aimed to enhance choice and control for carers. The paper draws on Twigg’s typology of service conceptualisations of family carers and concludes that, despite the important social rights won by carers in England, current practice continues to regard carers primarily as a resource or a co-worker, rather than a co-client.