Essex County Council at the forefront of new ‘right to control’ scheme

ESSEX is one of the first areas in the country to start a radical shake-up of the way disabled people use state funding.

The county council is one of only five ‘Trailblazers’ where disabled people can, for the first time, combine money from different state funding streams to be spent on whatever they think most appropriate for their needs.

That can be in the form of their own support services or equipment through the ‘Right to Control’ scheme which allows for a more personalised service, joining up housing, employment and community care.

People will be able to get advice on choosing services and decide how to spend their money, or if they are happy with the support they currently receive, they won’t have to change anything.

Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller said: “This is about increasing personalisation and putting disabled people in charge of their own decision making – instead of telling them what they can and can’t spend their money on.

“Disabled people should have the same choices and opportunities as everyone else and I am convinced that this will help to deliver the greater independence that disabled people tell me they want.

“I need to make it clear that Right to Control does not change eligibility for these services, but means that disabled people can use their funding more flexibly.”

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Trailblazers, partnerships between local authorities, Jobcentre Plus and disabled people’s organisations will work with disabled people to develop individual support plans. Each plan will make effective use of all the funding available to an individual, to meet their goals.

Essex County Councillor Ann Naylor, cabinet member for Adults, Health and Community Well Being, said: “The council is pleased that this change has come about. It is important that individuals have control.

“Every person has different requirements which the Right to Control scheme recognises. This allows the service user to select services which suit them and their needs”

In total, the five trailblazers - which also includes Leicester City Council, the London boroughs of Barnet and Newham, and part of Surrey County Council - received �7 million to make the changes necessary to deliver the Right to Control scheme and to identify the best way to deliver the new service.