The third project meeting for the UNIC project, but the first one in person!

The UNIC project partners met for the first time in person, in Prague between the 8th and 10th of November 2021 to discuss user-centred funding models, such as personal budgets. This is the focus of the UNIC project, which aims to develop tools that will help public authorities to design, implement, and evaluate a personal budget system in Long-term care and support.

 A Personal Budget is an entitlement to money that is clear, which the person can control (with support, if necessary) and which can be used flexibly to meet the person’s needs. The transition to a model as such allows room for flexibility when designing and providing services, which are tailored towards the needs of each beneficiary and providing the needed support to individuals when planning and using their chosen services.

During this meeting, the partners reflected on the work already completed by discussing the reports that were developed during the 1st year of the project. These reports set up a framework that will guide the work of the project.

  • The Models of Promising Practices Report builts a solid understanding of user-centred funding models for long-term care and support (LTCS), with a particular focus on personal budgets. It provides an overview of promising practices on the implementation of personal budgets (or similar user-centred funding models) in Europe and across the world.
  • The European Roadmap is organised to offer public authorities a framework to design, develop, implement, and evaluate Personal Budgets.

In addition, the UNIC Project will develop and provide a toolkit which builds on these two reports, and which will help public authorities evaluate their own approaches, set new goals and work to advance human rights and deinstitutionalisation.

One of the main discussion of this meeting, was to finalise the development of the set of tools that will provide public authorities with the opportunity to design, implement, and evaluate a personal budgets system. These tools include:

  • A tool to monitor the quality of services provided in the framework of a personal budgets system;
  • A tool to help service providers design and deliver user-centred services in the framework of personal budgets, following a co-production approach and focused on the development of home and community-based services;
  • A tool to help public authorities in the promotion engagement and enforcement of a personal budgets system, including the development of community-based services (considering both the transformation of current services and the creation of new ones).

The tools will be tested by VAPH, an Agency of the Flemish regional government in Belgium, responsible for funding LTCS for adults with disabilities. Later on, they will be adapted and tranferred during designated workshops in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, and Spain.

We partners personally believe that the Prague meeting was enriching for all of us; we made contacts, engaged in valuable discussion about the UNIC project and spent time together as partners and friends, which in the time of the pandemic is precious.

Vojtech Mericka & Karel Vostry

European Ageing Network