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Direct payments and personal budgets are two of the most exciting and important developments in adult social care since the Second World War. From very small-scale origins, both have grown rapidly and are now set to transform the whole of adult social care. In future, the government has pledged that everyone will receive a personal budget, and managers, practitioners and students alike will need to be fully conversant with the implications of this. Against this background, this is the first UK introductory textbook on direct payments and personal budgets, summarizing the current evidence and implications for policy and practice. Designed for front-line practitioners and for student social workers, the book places these policies in context, explores their origins and impacts, and sets out the challenges and opportunities for practice. Written by leading national experts in the personalization agenda, the book is essential reading for everyone involved in social care.