The Resource Allocation System (RAS) in adult social care in England is the means by which local authorities determine the size of the ‘personal budget’ pot in social care and the money that will be paid (or services in lieu) to the recipient.
The ethos of the personal budget, whether delivered by a direct payment or a ‘managed’ budget or an Individual Service Fund is clarity. The user/recipient of the service knows how much ‘money’ is in the pot to spend – even if they aren’t making those spending choices directly.
So why is there a problem with the RAS? Lucy at The Small Places explains in her excellent and highly recommended post here. She has undertaken a piece of research asking various local authorities for details about their Resource Allocation Systems. What this means in effect is asking how the algorithms are calculated that assigned particular values (money) to ‘needing help with preparing meals’ or ‘having a family member to help’. Lucy explains that two reasons she was given by different local authorities for not disclosing were that revealing the formula might ‘distort’ future requests (i.e. people could fiddle the system if they knew which questions were weighted in particular ways) or that the RAS is a commercially sensitive document.
Quite rightly these arguments are picked apart in the blog post referenced so I won’t go over that again.
I did want to consider a question that was put to me last night (via Twitter) namely ‘What’s the solution?’.
I’m sure I’d be in a position in a very different grade to the one I’m in now if I had a bullet proof solution but it raises some thoughts in me that needed longer than 140 characters.