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Nottinghamshire County Council nationally praised for personal budget information for residents with dementia

Nottinghamshire County Council has been praised for being the only local authority in England to produce specially tailored information on personal budgets for people with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society made ‘mystery shopper’ calls to 60 English councils about personal budgets for the caller’s mother, who was recently diagnosed with early on set dementia.

The Council worked with Alzheimer’s Society in 2013 and 2014 to improve how personal budgets and direct payment work for people with dementia and their carers.

A key priority was improving access to good quality information about personal budgets and raising awareness of the support available through frontline staff and partner organisations.

In particular, the Council worked with residents with dementia and their carers to identify and overcome barriers that prevented them from accessing personal budgets and direct payments. An easy to understand leaflet was also produced to explain their benefits and how they work.

The project doubled the number of people with dementia receiving direct payments from 143 to 295 over the 2013/14 period.

Alzheimer’s Society’s survey also found the information on the Council’s website on personal budgets is ‘good’ – only a third of local authorities’ websites were given this rating.

A personal budget enables people eligible for social care to know how much money they can have for their support and gives them greater choice in how it is spent.

It can be in the form of direct payments, which allows people to arrange and pay for their own care support services, along with a managed personal budget for people who would like their local authority to arrange and manage the services on their behalf.

Councillor Muriel Weisz, Chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Social Care and Health Committee, said: “The use of personal budgets and direct payments for people with dementia had been recognised as a particular challenge for local authorities.

“However, this project has shown that personal budgets can work well to divert and delay admission into long-term care, deliver good outcomes for people with dementia and are cost effective when combined with support from carers.”

Ian McCreath, Personal Choice Programme Manager at Alzheimer’s Society said: “Personal budgets have the potential to give much needed choice and control to people with dementia.

“Our research uncovered a worrying situation for people with dementia when trying to obtain a budget so it is encouraging to see Nottinghamshire County Council leading the way. We urge other local authorities to follow suit and help support people with dementia to live the life they choose.”