P5 Citizens with budgets: markets, risk and accountability in personalised public services

Panel Chairs:
Professor Catherine Needham, Dr Kelly Hall, Professor Catherine Mangan, Dr Gemma Carey, Professor Helen Dickinson and Eleanor Malbon

Corresponding Chair:
Catherine Needham, c.needham.1@bham.ac.uk

The individualisation of funding to the citizen is a trend within a range of social policy sectors and across several countries. It is evident in the move to personal budgets in adult social care in England and personal health budgets in the NHS, as well as the trialling of individualised funding for rough sleepers, for parents of children with special educational needs and for adoptive parents. In Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme allocates individualised financial packages to individuals with a high level of need, and personal budgets are being used in aged care. Many other countries already offer so-called ‘cash for care’ schemes.

Much of the attention to date has focused on how this transfer of resources changes the role of the citizen, as they become a commissioner of services, an employer of staff and a bearer of risks. The focus of this panel is on the role that the state plays in a context in which budgets are individualised to citizens. Given that these are social policy sectors, in which markets are known to fail or underprovide, there is a clear role for the state to stimulate and support a diverse range of providers such that people have options about how to spend their budgets. This is a role in which the state may be a regulator and a commissioner, but is also required to be a market steward. Papers are encouraged which can contribute to theorising this role for the state, or exploring empirical cases in which states are engaging with markets for citizen budget-holders.