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DR UK response to Right to Control pilots

30 August 2013

Evaluation of the Right to Control pilots does not prove that the right to control pilots have failed

Right to Control was designed to enable disabled people to pool resources from up to six funding streams such as Access to Work and Social Care and be in control of how our support needs are met.  Potential benefits include being able to plan the support you need for work and home life together, reducing bureaucracy, improving control over your own support and stopping the practice of assessing people to death for every separate income stream. The approach has been tested in seven pilot areas.

The evaluation of the pilots has now been published.  On the face of it the evaluation has not found any conclusive evidence of the benefits to disabled people of the Right to Control but we believe it was undertaken too soon. The evaluation has also not found any evidence that the Right is not beneficial.  The trailblazers took sometime to set up.  It was not an easy task to change the rules and procedures so that six funding streams could come together into one budget that disabled people can control; and in many areas this had not happened fully, so the evaluation is a comment on the stage of systems change.  The pilots were barely up and running by the time the evaluators came along.

Despite there being very little to evaluate, the opponents of personalisation and choice and control by disabled people have seized the opportunity to say as they would see it ‘we told you so’.  So for example the article in Community Care is headlined ‘Failure to Deliver Benefit to Disabled People’ accompanied by a photo of the back of a wheelchair user.  Exactly the same happened with the evaluation of the individual budgets pilots in 2007.  Unfortunately governments have a tendency to set up pilots, give them too short a time to prove themselves, and evaluate the results too early.  This gives space for the opponents of change, particularly those trying to reduce all expenditure whatever the consequences, to say things should stay as they are. We do not accept that things should stay as they are: disabled people deserve better.

Since the evaluators left to write their report the trailblazers have been busy continuing with their work with some positive stories emerging of the difference the Right to Control is having for disabled people.  In fact there has been so much success that all the trailblazers have decided they want to continue with their work even though the pilot phase has now ended.

We should salute the work of the trailblazers who, for the first time for a government initiative, were selected on the basis of their willingness to co-produce with disabled people and our organisations.  Of course there have been frustrations along the way but our legal right to control how our support needs are met is a hard won right that gives us independent living and should be rolled out nation wide.