Self Directed Support (SDS) is a phrase used to describe the means by which individuals can determine how they receive the support they need and have greater control over how they live their lives. SDS is sometimes referred to as ‘Personalisation'.
The main practical step towards achieving this reform began when thirteen local authorities piloted a system known as Individual Budgets (now more commonly referred to as Personal Budgets). Now that the pilot projects have completed, most local authorities in England have taken steps to gradually introduce this new approach. A similar approach is planned to be introduced in Wales under the banner of ‘Citizen Centred Care'.
It may be the case that in your own county, the new approach has not yet been introduced, or it is currently being tested with small groups of individuals. However, it is the governments' stated aim that all local authorities will have implemented a Self Directed Support approach by 2011.
Traditionally, local council Social Services have arranged a package of services for eligible individuals.
The introduction of Direct Payments in 1997 allowed them to assess a person's needs and to make a payment to them so that they could choose where to purchase their support from. People normally use Direct Payments either to employ their own personal assistants, or pay a Care Agency to provide the support. Direct Payments is likely to continue to be the main type of funding associated with a Personal Budget and for more detailed information on this, please visit our Direct Payments page.
Personal budgets or Individual Budgets are similar to Direct Payments in that they have the same principles of service user choice and control. However, an individual budget, unlike direct payments, does not have to be a cash payment made to the individual, but can be a pot of money that someone else spends on their behalf. Individual budgets have a number of key features:
Many local authorities are adopting the ‘In-Control system' of self-directed support, which involves a 7-step process. The individual can decide what degree of control they would like to take over their funding and support. They could receive help with the process from family, friends, care managers, independent brokers or others.
Please note that there could be variations across local authorities in how this approach will be (or has been) implemented. The following steps just set out the general features.
Step 1 - Identify your needs
You complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire. You can do this with or without the help of others. The questionnaire is about the impact that your disability, illness or impairment is having on your life. In addition, a financial assessment questionnaire needs to be filled out.
Step 2 - Find out your Indicative Personal Budget
Using the information from both questionnaires, the local council works out the figures and then tells you the amount of your Indicative Personal Budget. This is an estimate of the cost of the care and support you may need and how much (if anything) the Council will contribute towards it.
Step 3 - Plan your support
You draw up a Support Plan, with the help of others if you wish. This plan looks at what you want to change in your life and what you want to stay the same. It explains how you will spend your Personal Budget in a way that makes sense to you and how you will be supported. You need to decide on the right support for yourself before you can use your Personal Budget.
Step 4 - Get your Support Plan agreed
If you are entitled to Council funding, the Council has to agree your Support Plan and the associated costs. Once this is done you will receive your Personal Budget. If you are using your own money, the Council will not need to agree your Support Plan.
Step 5 - Take control of your Personal Budget
It is your choice and decision as to how much you look after or take control of the money in your Personal Budget. There are different ways of doing this and support, if you decided you wanted it, it is available through various means.
Step 6 - Arrange your support
You spend your Personal Budget on the support you need as outlined in your Support Plan. You will be able to receive help to identify the support that offers you the best deal and provides you with the most appropriate support. You can select and set up your own support or ask others to do it if you prefer, for example, an independent broker, a provider organisation, a trust, the local council or a mixture of these.
Normally, you will be encouraged to do this yourself if you feel you are able, to give you maximum control over your life.
Step 7 - Review
At a set time(s) of the year, a social worker/care manager will contact and visit you to check that your Personal Budget is working for you and discuss what, if anything, you want to do next or need to change.
For information about the services and support that The Rowan Organisation can offer to individuals, please see Our Services on this website.