Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland
Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland

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Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland

4.1 Is personalisation risky?

Concerns about personalisation often focus on children and adults who are at risk of harm. Read some of the things people have said about risk of harm and personalisation:

Figure 4.1

Activity 4.1 What's the risk?

(15 minutes)

After you have read and considered the four quotes above, spend 10 minutes noting down in your learning log [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] possible risks that your experience of health and social care leads you to think may be attached to personalisation.


You may have identified a range of risks. For example one learner noted down:

Figure 4.2

These risks can be categorised as:

  • Risks related to the idea of personalisation: Does giving people greater control put them at risk if they are not able to exert that control in ways that keep them (or other people) safe?
  • Risks related to how personalisation is implemented : Are the resources there to manage possible risk of harm? Will the mechanisms of self-directed support, for example, be too complex and onerous for people to administer? Does personalisation mean losing valued professional supports and services that currently help to keep people safe?

All the risks identified above are about risk of harm (e.g. of neglect and abuse) which is what we are usually referring to when we talk about 'risk'. But Kaarina Elisabeth's quote above is a reminder that risk can be ' part of the joy of life' ; in other words risks can be positive as well as negative, and too much of a focus on the risk of harm may in itself be harmful. So we think a bit more about this tricky word, 'risk', before understanding its relationship with personalisation and self-directed support.


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