Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is this a poison apple I see before me?

I see in todays 'news' that the government is to push Personalization and reduce statementing of children.  These are not news, but I do find them worrying.

Reducing the number of children with a statement may seem innocuous.  But what it means in practice is that education authorities will no longer be obliged to provide the support services they currently do to many children with moderate disabilities.  It's a cost cutting measure.

Making Personalization, and it's close bedfellow Direct Payments, the main aim seems to put parents in charge. But our own experience of how Personalization is in fact being implemented by councils is that it is actually being used to cut costs rather than put families in charge.  Contrary to public perception, the money can't be used for anything - only for specified things - not always the most appropriate ones.  It also puts the organization and admin. load onto carers without paying for it.  It also allows councils to provide no money for 'unmet need' i.e. the care provided free by family carers (whether or not they get carers allowance, which pensionable carers don't).  It is good for some people, but they can get it anyway.  It doesn't work for everyone - if a person has no family care network, they have no voice and are thrown back on an uninterested local authority.  Underfunded, like Care in the Community, it's being used to cut costs.

These announcements are cynical PR exercises which in fact disguise more cuts by the back door.  They sound good - and if done properly with enough funding, like anything else, they might well work.  But the money is being cut.  And the money provides services.  No matter what administrative process you use to distribute it.

Snow White's poison apple comes to mind.  There'd be a cartoon in this, if the press hadn't bought into the PR message.

1 comment:

  1. This was my complaint today actually, not to mention the whole idea of education for children up to 25 who have ASD made me think "What SORT of education?" Fees for university are now through the roof. But, conveniently, workfare placements still allow people who are disabled to participate "indefinitely". So, what, my son stacks shelves from 16 to 25 and that's his "education"? There's no provision, nothing even remotely thought out yet.

    And yes, agreed, direct payments are a nightmare. There's no "choice" when there's nothing to choose from - and I don't need the extra responsibility and headache of working, caring for my son, and also being an SEN specialist and provision professional on top of it. Seems like an easy way to blame parents when the system doesn't work.