Money, finance and the personalisation agenda for people with learning disabilities in the UK: some emerging issues



Accessible Summary

  • In the UK, more people with learning disabilities have the chance to have more choice and control over their lives.
  • One big issue for many people with learning disabilities is that they should have control over their own money.
  • There can be quite a lot of problems for people with learning disabilities around managing money. Staff do not always know how best to help. Banks and building societies are not always helpful or accessible.
  • Giving people more choice or control over their money does not always mean that things will be better for people with learning disabilities.
  • People with learning difficulties need better kinds of support to have choice and control over their money.


In the UK, policy on adult social care places an emphasis on maximising choice and control for service users, including people with learning disabilities. The shift from the provision of organised services for groups of people to offering individual and personal budgets and pots of money for people to buy their own services has major implications for the way in which people with learning disabilities are offered the opportunity to be much more ‘hands-on’ with managing their own financial affairs. Some of the financial implications of personalisation are arguably quite complex, and it is not clear how well people with learning disabilities are being supported with this. This paper highlights some key and emerging issues on the topic of money and personalisation and draws on interviews with a range of staff in learning disability services and highlights their views, hopes and concerns about the best ways to support people with money matters. The response of mainstream financial institutions to the needs of people with learning disabilities and the political and economic context in which the personalisation agenda is developing are also discussed.