The overwhelming majority of councils have no rules on whether people receiving personal social care budgets can use some of that funding to buy sexual services, it emerged over the weekend.
Research from The Outsiders and TLC Trusts - both groups that campaign for the rights of people with disabilities - found that while most councils refused to “condone” the use of funding to pay for such services, managers or social workers were granted discretion to deal with such requests.
The Sunday Telegraph, which obtained the survey, said 97% of 121 councils that responded to the charities’ survey had no formal policy on service users’ requests to spend their budgets on sex services, with decisions delegated to staff.
Freedom of Information Act responses given to the charities found four councils “condoning” the use of personal budget funding for disabled service users to buy sex.
The paper cited one social worker at an unnamed council who confirmed that a 21-year-old service-user with learning disabilities was planning a trip to Amsterdam for sex.
Another care worker said staff at her council had been told that trips to lap dancing clubs could be funded, if it could be argued that it would help the “mental and physical wellbeing” of clients.
The paper quoted Belinda Schwer, a legal consultant who advises councils, saying many local authorities agreed support plans for clients which did not specify how funds would be used, once they passed out of their hands.
“From what I have seen, at least one quarter of local authorities are doing support plans which only state what outcome should be achieved – not which services are being employed,” she said.