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Safeguarding and personal budgets: the experiences of adults at risk

Fiona Aspinal (Department of Applied Health Research, UCL, London, UK)
Martin Stevens (Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, London, UK)
Jill Manthorpe (Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, London, UK)
John Woolham (Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, London, UK)
Kritika Samsi (Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, London, UK)
Kate Baxter (Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, York, UK)
Shereen Hussein (Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Mohamed Ismail (Analytical Research Ltd, Woking, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 16 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to present findings from one element of a study exploring the relationship between personalisation, in the form of personal budgets (PBs) for publicly funded social care and safeguarding.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 people receiving PBs who had recently been the focus of a safeguarding investigation. Participants were recruited from two English local authority areas and data were subject to thematic analysis.


The analysis identified three main themes: levels of information and awareness; safeguarding concerns and processes; and choice and control. Many of the participants in this small study described having experienced multiple forms of abuse or neglect concurrently or repeatedly over time.

Research limitations/implications

This was a small scale, qualitative study, taking place in two local authorities. The small number of participants may have had strong opinions which may or may not have been typical. However, the study provides some rich data on people’s experiences.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that adults receiving PBs may need information on an ongoing and repeated basis together with advice on how to identify and address poor quality care that they are arranging for themselves. Practitioners need to be aware of the influence of the level of information received and the interaction of organisational or legal requirements when responding to safeguarding concerns when care being supplied tries to reflect the benefits of choice and control.


This paper reports original research asking adults with care and support needs about the interaction between two key policies of safeguarding and personalisation.



The authors would like to thank all the people who gave their time to take part in an interview for this study. This study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School of Social Care Research (SSCR) (Ref: T976/EM/KCL2). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily of the NIHR, School for Social Care Research, Department of Health and Social Care or the NHS. FA is currently supported by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames.


Aspinal, F., Stevens, M., Manthorpe, J., Woolham, J., Samsi, K., Baxter, K., Hussein, S. and Ismail, M. (2019), "Safeguarding and personal budgets: the experiences of adults at risk", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 157-168.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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