Our history

In Control was founded in 2003 by a small group of people who wanted to make life better for local families with disabled members.

Inspired by the Independent Living Movement (which helps people with disabilities to live, learn and work in their own mainstream communities), we pioneered the concept of self-directed support and developed personal budgets as a way for people to take control of their support. We piloted this model across six areas in England, bringing real, sustainable benefits for people with no increase in costs.


Between 2005 and 2007 this work strongly influenced government policy and resulted in ‘Putting People First’, a national policy which introduced personal budgets and helped to transform adult social care for the better. Since then the government has expanded its commitment to introducing personalisation across other sectors including health and children’s services.


In 2011, together with the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University, we developed
the Personal Outcome Evaluation Tool (POET) and published the results of the First National Personal Budget Survey, identifying the outcomes and experiences of people using personal budgets, and those of their family carers, to better understand what improvements were needed. We repeat the POET survey on an annual basis and have since developed it for personal health budgets, as well as for use in children's services to measure the impact of Education, Health and Care Plans and personal budgets for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.


In 2014 the Care Act modernised and consolidated the law on adult social care in England into one statute, and the Children and Families Act introduced the most wide-ranging policy and practice reforms for children with SEND and their families for more than 30 years. In response we produced two reports, reviewing how local authorities were performing and highlighting a set of key messages. From there we have produced further publications including the findings from our research into the use of prepayment cards, charging for social care and were an instigator of socialcarefuture  and of the Be Human movement. We continue to champion, challenge and change.