Title
How personal budgets are working in Ireland: Evaluating the implementation of four individualised funding initiatives for people with a disability in Ireland
Research team
Prepared by Pádraic Fleming, Mental Health and Social Research Unit, Maynooth University Department of Psychology
Results
May 2016

How personal budgets are working in Ireland - A Research Brief

A PhD student has been funded by Genio through the Structured Population and Health-services Research Education (SPHeRE) Programme over four years to carry out an evaluation of the implementation of personalised budgets in four Genio-supported projects for people with a disability. The evaluation presents a summary of the main lessons learned according to the key people involved in these initiatives, including individuals with a disability who participated in the initiatives; family members; paid and unpaid advocates; and staff members from within the four organisations. 

This document is aimed at anyone who is interested in the practicalities, successes and challenges of implementing individualised funding initiatives in Ireland. Those who may be interested include:

  • People living with a disability.
  • Those providing informal supports for people with a disability, such as family members, friends, members of the wider community.
  • Personal assistants / key workers and other paid support for individuals with a disability.
  • Staff members currently implementing individualised funding initiatives.
  • Service providers considering moving to an individualised funding model or incorporating an individualised funding arm into their current service model.
  • Researchers.
  • Funders.
  • Policy makers/drivers such as civil servants and elected members of government.
  • The Health Service Executive (HSE) and other health service staff.

For individualised funding to be successful in Ireland, it is important to focus on an individual’s abilities, passions and interests and to encourage independence and personal responsibility. It is essential to provide an easy and transparent access route from the outset for people who wish to avail of individualised funding and targeted training for support workers / personal assistants etc.

New community-based friendships should also be encouraged and facilitated, while existing contacts and friendships are maintained for the people supported. Sharing stories and celebrate achievements by using social networks, blogs, print, video and other media can highlight success stories and help grow momentum.

Ensure that senior staff members within organisations implementing individualised funding positively champion and promote individualised funding, particularly during challenging periods and develop collaboration and build a unified network of advocates in order to strengthen the national presence. It is important that these people engage and network in order to share ideas, top tips and pitfalls whilst focusing on shared goals rather than organisational differences.

A number of recommendations are made at the end of the briefing document. These are based on the key lessons presented and are intended to inform, challenge and promote discussion among the readership.

Key Points
  • For personal budgets to work effectively, the focus should be on each person’s abilities and interests, along with encouraging independence and personal responsibility.
  • The process of implementing personal budgets must be clear and easy to access.
  • Training for all parties is essential in order to access and utilise personal budgets effectively.
  • Sharing stories and celebrating achievements via social networks, video and other media can highlight success and grow momentum.

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