Where do I start?

Personalisation is the term used to describe the way councils now provide services to adults and carers who are considered eligible to receive them. It covers the variety of ways people
can receive a mixture of local authority and government money that can be used to pay for care services without involving their local council.

People receive an assessment of their needs and finances by social workers who will also involve and consider the needs of carers. If eligible for support from the council you can be allocated a
‘personal budget’.

The term ‘personal budget’ describes the amount of money that will fund a person’s care and support costs. It is calculated by assessing a person’s needs. It is spent in line with a support plan that has been agreed by both the person and their council. It can be either a full or a
partial contribution to such costs. The person may also choose to pay for additional support
on top of the budget. Any eventual contractual agreement for services is between the individual and their care provider, not the council.

A personal budget may be taken by an eligible person:

• in the form of a direct (cash) payment, held directly by the person or where they lack capacity, by a ‘suitable person’;

• by way of an ‘account’ held and managed by the council in line with the person’s wishes for example to pay for community care services which are commissioned by the council, or as an account placed with a third party (provider) and accessed by the user in direct negotiation with the provider; or

• as a mixture of the above.

The key to accessing all this begins with an assessment of your care needs and your financial
circumstances by your council.

Your Assessment

You have a legal right to an assessment of your care needs and finances. Councils are statutorily obliged to provide this to you regardless of whether you access their services.
The assessment (which is free) will consider your personal circumstances such as:

– how you can best be supported to live as independently as possible;

– your home and how you are coping in it;

– your emotional well-being;

– your diet;

– any health and medical treatments you need;


– your financial status and any benefits you may be claiming.

Your local Adult Services are responsible for the assessment process, you will need to contact the Adult Social Care Department in Essex on 0845 603 7630 or Department for People in Southend-on-Sea on 01702 215008.

Once your council has an understanding of your care and financial needs, the next stage is to
determine what services you are eligible for and who will pay for them

Assessments from hospital

If you have been admitted to hospital and either you, your family, your carers or the ward staff think you need care on discharge they may refer you to the discharge team for an assessment.
The team is multi-professional, made up of social workers, carers’ officers, mental health workers and housing officers.

Your assessment will take place on the ward and a plan of care developed with you and
your family or carer to facilitate your discharge. Whatever services you need on discharge, your
council will work with you, your family and carers to either restart services already in place prior to admission or provide the appropriate service to enable discharge.

Sometimes interim care packages are set up to facilitate your discharge and will be reassessed by a community social worker within 4 to 6 weeks. Adult Services do not normally arrange for people to go into residential care straight from hospital as this needs to be a considered option and arrangements planned, but if you need a care home, your council will ask their brokerage team to identify appropriate homes for you and your family to view. If your home of choice has no vacancies then sometimes an interim placement may be appropriate until you can move to your permanent home.

If you have been referred to Adult Services by the hospital, and you meet the eligibility criteria, you will go through Adult Services’ enablement service which aims to deliver benefits to older people with physical and/or mental health conditions by helping people to live as independently as possible, preferably in their own home.