Individual Budgets: Lessons from Early Users' Experiences

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Within the context of modernization, there has been a trend towards 'cash-for-care' schemes designed to bring choice and control closer to the service user. In England, Individual Budgets (IBs) are being piloted, with the aim of promoting personalized support for disabled people and other users of social care services. This paper reports on the experiences and outcomes of early IB users two to three months after first being offered an IB. The users included adults with physical/sensory impairments, learning difficulties, mental health problems and older people. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with nine service users and five proxies. The findings suggest that IBs have the potential to be innovative and life-enhancing. However, achieving this potential in practice depends on a range of other factors, including changes in the routine practices and organizational culture of adult social care services and ensuring users have access to appropriate documentation and support. Any conclusions drawn from the experiences of these early IB users must be treated with caution. The findings nevertheless indicate some of the issues that will need to be addressed as IBs are implemented more widely to replace conventional forms of adult social care provision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-935
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

Bibliographical note

This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in the British Journal of Social Work following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version: Rabiee, P., Moran, N. and Glendinning, C. (2009) Individual Budgets: lessons from early users' experiences, British Journal of Social Work, 39, 5, 918-935. is available online at: doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcm152 BJSW Advance Access originally published online on March 17, 2008


  • ageing and older people
  • flexible services
  • disability
  • empowerment
  • Individual Budgets
  • CARE

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