Power, Choice and Control: How Do Personal Budgets Affect the Experiences of People with Mental Health Problems and Their Relationships with Social Workers and Other Practitioners?

Sarah Hamilton, Jerry Tew*, Paulina Szymczynska, Naomi Clewett, Jill Manthorpe, John Larsen, Vanessa Pinfold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There has been substantial research on the implementation of personal budgets across adult social care in England, but relatively little exploration of take-up within the field of mental health-and whether personal budgets are providing an effective mechanism for service users to exercise greater power, choice and control in their lives. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with fifty-two people using mental-health-related social care services and twenty-eight social work and other practitioners, undertaken for a national study in 2010-13, this paper explores experiences from their different perspectives. Interviews were undertaken in three English local authorities which were at different stages of implementing personal budgets in mental health social care. Data were analysed using an Interpretive Framework Approach. The findings provide evidence of how personal budgets may deliver opportunities for people to take more power and control, sometimes collaboratively with practitioners, and also identify some of the barriers and challenges which can militate against such outcomes. A key factor in enabling personal budgets to support empowerment and recovery was reported to be the quality and continuity of the professional relationship-which raises particular implications for the organisation of mental health social work and the organisational cultures within which this is situated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-736
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Choice
  • control
  • empowerment
  • mental health
  • personalisation
  • self-directed support

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