Personal budgets are a form of self-directed support which allow users of social services the opportunity to achieve full citizenship by exercising their rights as individuals.
As PWD are starting to claim their place as full citizens of a democratic society, it is evident that some existing support systems are either ineffective or have practices which are incompatible with citizenship (e.g. institutionalisation). Thus there is a growing need to have systems in place to allow the service user to choose what sort of treatment they wish to receive. Personal budgets give the service user the necessary independence to make a conscious decision on their treatment.
According to the EASPD, a self-directed support is a system of funding for support services that helps people to achieve full citizenship. It may have some of the following qualities:
- Rights - strong rights that give people proper entitlements
- Control - the person, or someone close to him/her, can control the budget
- Clarity - the systems, its rules and the budgets are clear
- Flexibility - budgets can be used in many different ways
- Ease of Use - it is easy to plan and to manage the budget and to control assistance
- Learning - information, advice and opportunities for innovation are available
- Contribution - budgets can be used to improve the person’s contribution to society