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David Cameron – betting it all on personal budgets?

It sounds like personal budgets are the main plank of David Cameron’s “Big Society white paper” that he is circulating to Ministers this week.

We have had the joy of working extensively with central government and local councils in all of the pilot studies that the white paper seems to want to bring together – Individual budgets pilot (DH), Right to Control (DWP), individual budgets for disabled children(DCSF/DfE), putting people first rollout (DH), personal health budgets (DH).

One massive frustration of the pilots is that they were each run individually, with controlled evaluations and limited scopes, which precisely and ironically prevented the joining up resources around the individual that was the very principle they were testing!

So we welcome the big idea of pulling them all together. A rebalancing of the relationship between the state and the individual is needed – and personal budgets unleashed could be a powerful enabling tool. Now we just have to see if the big idea can survive the infamous silos of Whitehall.

What a good week to be announcing the winner of the Personalisation award (which we will do at the Municipal Journal awards on Thursday)!

Jeremy Cooper, director, IMPOWER Consulting

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