RAS Resource Allocation System

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I would be interested in other carers views of the Resource Allocation System used now by many Adult Social Care Depts to assess for the money they are prepared to give to a Personal Budget to purchase a support package. My 36 yr old son is being reassessed in this way. Although I thought with a Personal Budget they gave you the allocated budget to spend on support as you wish. However I've been told the Dept keeps the money to purchase the support!

We keep asking for more information about the process and our rights but they are not very forthcoming. We've been told a questionnaire is completed and codes are come up with from simple descriptions of support needed. Points are allocated to each code, this is totalled and fed into a computer. A personal Budget is come up with depending on the total points!! We do not like the depersonalisation of it all! The Social Work Team seemed reluctant to even get our input as parents to the Needs Assessment Questionnaire!

Has anyone had experience of this? Do you know if we have any rights of appeal if we think their `codings' are wrong? Do you know anyone who has managed to discover the number of points allocated to each code? - apparently it is weighted to take into consideration the local cost of support? The descriptions of support needed are given a code 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D etc In some of them it's not clear which one is allocated the highest points. Our son's needs do not fit neatly into the categories of support needed.

Any comments would be welcome.
Thanks
Our LA have brought one in for my son's In Control package of direct payments a few months ago, we were certainly involved in the ratings assessment, and much to my and my sons social workers surprise, it resulted in a hefty increase in the amout being paid from April this year. Great stuff, except my wife and I are run off my feet trying to find useful ways of spending it and managing it on his behalf and in his interest - it goes a long way.
My understanding that is that everyone is supposed to be offered a Personal Budget in the form of Direct Payments, they can then exercise the right to refuse DPs and ask for services to be commissioned by the LA. The carer(s) should be part of the joint assessment process and their ability and willingness to meet care needs taken into account when allocating funds using RAS.

I do realise that not all LAs are adhering to this, for many it is a new process and we have had two very different experiences of two LAs both of which were in the early stages of implementing IBs/PBs but in the second case I did not accept what was on offer which was substantially less than our previous LA had assessed my husband as needing and my husband now has an extremely good package which has just increased as I am finding it impossible to meet his needs. I have also chosen this time for the package to be commissioned by the LA rather than managing it myself but we still have to be offered the package in the form of PB DPs and reject it in line with government guidance. It is probably worth challenging what is on offer if it does not meet your son's and your needs.
Thank you for your helpful and supportive comments.