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Major differences revealed in how local authorities in the UK support disabled people
Date:9/19/2007

orities in England were far more likely to have designated direct payment officers, compared to those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • Support organisations for direct payment users are changing. In England only one quarter of such organisations were seen to be user-led. There was a higher proportion of user-led support organisations in Scotland but many of these saw themselves as having a strong campaigning role and this tended to bring them into conflict with local authorities

  • The researchers found that questions continue to be raised as to whether direct payments are appropriate for all disabled people and community care groups, or whether some individuals, for example, older people living in socially disadvantaged circumstances, may find them too difficult to manage.

  • Similarly concerns were raised with the researchers about the supply, pay and conditions of work of the personal care assistants, who are now, to all intents and purposes, employed by those receiving direct payments.

Commenting on the research Professor Sheila Riddell said:

We need to understand how the modernisation of welfare agenda is playing out in different parts of the UK, so that disabled people and others are confident about having their rights respected irrespective of their country or locality. This research helps to inform the ongoing debate about the best way to empower service users

A spokesperson for the Department of Health, which oversees the scheme in England, said: Direct payments give individuals real choice and control over the services they use. We are committed to extending direct payments to enable greater numbers of people to benefit and we launched a national toolkit in May 2007 to support English local authorities to achieve this.'

A spokesperson for the Scottish government said: The Scottish government has already addressed many of the issues raised in
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Contact: Danielle Moore
danielle.moore@esrc.ac.uk
01-793-413-312
Economic & Social Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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