Government policies on public services emphasise personalisation, empowering service users to choose providers that best meet their needs. But despite an increase in the use of personal budgets, the offer in social care often falls short of these goals. And it isn’t only service users: carers too often operate within a demanding, inflexible system that takes little account of their preferences, requirements and specialisms.
What if we ditched the rigid timetables and the staff rosters, the local authority contracting process and the tight-margin care management firms. Could we make service users the clients here, rather than their local authorities? Could we let people choose the times and types of service they receive, and allow them to select their preferred carer?
With a change in approach and some relatively straightforward digital technologies, we don’t see why not. Just imagine if a service user could request a visit as easily as ordering a taxi.