Do personal budgets increase the risk of abuse? Evidence from English national data

Fiona Jane Aspinal, Kate Baxter, Martin Stevens, Jill Manthorpe, Kritika Samsi, Shereen Hussein, Mohamed Ismail, John Woolham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the continued implementation of the personalisation policy, Personal
Budgets (PBs) have moved to the mainstream in adult social care in England.
The relationship between the policy goals of personalisation and safeguarding
is contentious. Some have argued that PBs have the potential to empower
recipients, while others believe PBs, especially Direct Payments, might
increase the risk of abuse.

This paper provides empirical evidence about levels of uptake of PBs and
safeguarding referrals in England based on in-depth analysis of national data
at aggregate, local council level in England, covering 152 Councils. This is
complemented by analysis of 2,209 individual referral records obtained from
three purposively selected study sites. The aim is to explore whether available
data could provide evidence of association between the uptake of PBs and
safeguarding referrals. Analysis of the national dataset found no significant
relationships between PB uptake and the level and type of alleged abuse.
However, analysis of individual level referral data, from the three selected
sites did find some significant associations particularly with financial abuse;
and the main perpetrators of the alleged abuse to be home care employees.
The findings are discussed within the context of current policy and practice
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-311
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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