The Impact of Personal Budgets

This joint publication by ACEVO and the ESRC examined the introduction of personal budgets in social care on the third sector. With contributions from both academics and practitioners, this provided useful information and recommendations, which are below.

Policymakers and service commissioners need to:

  • recognise that the unit costs of services may increase as bulk purchase (block contracts) and economies of scale are removed as individuals move to purchasing care services directly.They may need to work with providers to ensure that these costs are not passed onto service users.
  • ensure that providers are not destabilised and that people who want to continue receiving conventional local authority-purchased services are not disadvantaged or experience a reduction in choice due to the non-availability of their preferred service option.
  • give thought to communicating to providers the aggregate/collective preferences of personal budget users so that providers can obtain intelligence about the new markets and the ways in which their services need to adapt/respond.


The priority for third sector providers is to:

  • ensure that they engage in early dialogues with local authorities and other commissioning bodies to establish communication about change, what they can offer, and the potential risks that they (and hence service users) may be facing


To read the full report, see here.