We are really pleased to be able to publish our latest report about health and care services in Portsmouth – this time with a focus on personal budgets and how person-centred care services are across the city.

The research, undertaken with the support of local trained volunteers, gathered views from around 230 people and their carers to understand what their experiences have been. The report provides a summary of the feedback and suggests recommendations to improve how services are provided for local people.

Portsmouth City Council (PCC) and the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (PCCG) asked Healthwatch Portsmouth to undertake independent research with local people to gain feedback regarding how much choice and control they are actually given over the type of care services provided and peoples’ experiences with personal budgets.


The research, undertaken between October 2017 and January 2018, gathered views from around 230 local people and their carers, to understand:

  • What their expectations would be if they were to receive such a service in the future (for people not receiving care) and
  • Where the person-centred approach is working well and where it needs to improve (for people receiving care).


The feedback suggests that overall:

  • Two thirds of people in receipt of a personal budget believe it to be supportive to their way of life most or all of the time
  • 60% of people receiving care who answered our surveys felt the services they receive are person-centred most or all of the time.

However, this does still leave around one third of personal budget holders less satisfied with the use of this form of payment for their care and overall around 42% of care recipients feeling either services are never person-centred (6%) or only some of the time (36%).

When looking to the future, there was a 28% gap (deficit) in the reality for people currently regarding their care experiences when compared to what people would expect, should they require care in the future.

With specific reference to care experiences of personal budget holders when compared with non-budget holders, feedback seems to confirm that budget holders have more positive experiences of care, particularly around communication, level of control and being involved in creating a care plan.

People paying for their own care seem less satisfied with the person-centred experience.

From feedback, we have made a number of recommendations that can support commissioners and providers to plan more person-centred services and effective use of personal budgets in the future. General and consistent themes seemed to apply to all areas and included:

  • Staff training
  • Better communication with care recipients and amongst agencies involved
  • Improved co-ordination of care provision
  • Less bureaucracy/paperwork and greater focus on outcomes rather than finance
  • More freedom to spend a personal budget
  • More support for staff
  • Help with transition from child to adulthood.

The recommendations also included the need for more research, particularly around why there were differences in experiences for different population groups, those funding their own care and between recipients and non-recipients of personal budgets.

The report has been shared with Portsmouth City Council and the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group and will be used by them to inform how services reflect individual needs and preferences and respond more fully to what matters most to people both now and in the future. See the response to the report from the PCCG.


Healthwatch Portsmouth would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers who gave up their time to plan and participate in this research along with the many different local organisations who promoted the activity and encouraged local people to get involved and give their feedback. Finally, we would like to thank everyone who gave their feedback, whether by paper survey, online, via social media or through face-to-face and/or telephone conversations.

Care and Personal Budgets SUMMARY report
Care and Personal Budgets FULL report