Personalisation, User Led Organisations and the VCS

Personalisation: the reform of public services driven by empowered disabled people as consumers

Plans to transform public services from ‘one size fits all’ to a ‘personalised’ consumer driven approach poses both opportunities and challenges for Disabled Persons - and User Led - Organisations (ULOs). 

What are the implications?

  • The document Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People calls for a User Led Organisation, modelled on the Centre for Independent Living, to be established in each area by December 2010.  The Department of Health’s ULO project, and the Office for Disability Issues funding for ULO development work to regional government departments, have bo th provided opportunities for capacity building of some disabled persons organisations or user led organisations.  A design criteria has been established as guidance for minimum standards.  Future contracts and procurement requirements may be focused on these standards and those organisations that don’t meet them may lose out.       
  • As a result of changing funding arrangements, for example funding given directly to social care users, disabled persons organisations or user led organisations will not be able to rely on previous income sources.  Developing new services that address ‘user wants’, such as support brokerage may enable them to win contracts.  However, it is not clear how the personalisation agenda will impact on current services funded by authorities that engage with Disabled People outside of statutory eligibility criteria.  Disabled persons organisations will need to make persuasive arguments and business cases for continuation funding for these, especially if they provide ‘essential’ functions within communities.   
  • There are likely to be opportunities for DPOs to engage with a growing population of older people who acquire impairments.  Developing relationships with older people organisations and ensuring elder accessibility may offer opportunities to achieve disability equality objectives and widen the sphere of work of DPOs. 
  • Policy changes to funding of social care, such as by increased taxation, national insurance or personal contributions, may present challenges for individuals.  This may also impact on eligibility thresholds to entitlement, creating two tier ‘basic’ and ‘preimum’ systems.  DPOs will need to ensure representation of diverse groups of disabled people due to the impact different funding options may have on them.  

Moving forward

  • What does ‘personalisation’ of public services mean to your organisation? If this will have an impact on your funding streams, what plans do you have to respond to this?
  • How will you empower disabled people to be self directed consumers?
  • If you are a user-led organisation or disabled persons organisation, will you be involved in implementing the recommendation put forward in Life Chances of Disabled People? How will you engage with other ULO or DPOs or groups that will be affected by personalisation in your area?
  • How does you organisation and its activity relate to the DOH ULO design criteria?  Are you aware of the local activity? 
  • Could you provide services directly to your users? Do you know what your ‘user wants’ are? If so, how will you be paid for these?
  • What about disabled people that do not get the support they need?
  • If personalisation ‘fails’, how might this occur and how would it affect your work and those you support?

Want to know more?

Personalisation in Social Care

Published by: Department of Health

Date: 2010

Format: Web

What is it? The website of the Department of Health giving a brief introduction on what the personalisation of services means for social care provision.

How useful is this? This gives a brief introduction on what personalisation involves, but also contains resources giving guidance on the legislation regarding the changes as well as guidance on how to benefit from the changes.

Other comments:

At a glance 15: Personalisation briefing: Implications for user-led organisations (ULOs)

Published by: Social Care Institute for Excellence

Date: October 2009

Format: Web

What is it? A short paper looking at the impact the growth in personalisation of services is likely to have on user-led organisations

How useful is this? This paper looks at how the changes will effect organisations run by service users. It offers advice on how to adapt so that you can deal with the new legislation, as well as case studies of where this has been done succesfully.

Other comments:

Right to Control Trailblazers: Information on the right to Control and resources for Trailblazer areas

Published by: Office for Disability Issues

Date: 2010

Format: Web

What is it? An article on the 'Right to Control' legislation which gives disabled people more influence over how their care is provided

How useful is this? This is a summary which gives a very brief explanation of what the 'Right to Control' legislation is, as well as explaining what the 'Trailblazers' are. It also has links to other resources for those who want to learn more.

Other comments:

User-led Organisations Project Policy

Published by: Department of Health

Date: September 2007

Format: PDF

What is it? As the government hopes to get disabled people involved in the development and management of their own care they are encouraging 'User-led organisations' to be set up to increase the control of disabled people over their own services. This paper sets out how these 'USOs' should be set up and what their goals should be.

How useful is this? Very detailed article setting out the legal definitions of these new organisations, as well as what their vision and aims should be.

Other comments:

Last updated at 14:30 Fri 07/Jan/11.


How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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