Concerns are growing over the fact that thousands of individuals in the UK are being denied direct payments to meet care need costs.
A report by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) states that uptake of direct payments is being hindered by a combination of poor attitudes, bureaucracy and a lack of imagination.
The report maintains that Councils spend £10 billion a year on social services, but only 13,000 people are receiving direct payments. It continues to state that research among people using the payment system said it had "transformed" their lives.
The CSCI also states that 73 per cent of the public back schemes where local authorities let people select and buy services needed, according to the BBC.
"Not everyone will want to use a direct payment," commented David Behan, the CSCI's chief inspector.
"However, the qualities that people value from using them, choice, control and increased flexibility, need to find their way into mainstream service provision."
(c) 1998-2003 DeHavilland Information Services plc. All rights reserved.