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

Impact of an outcomes-focused approach for adults

Figure 3.9: Moving to an outcomes-based approach requires a shift from the role of 'expert' to one of facilitating a shared understanding of people's needs and wishes

What evidence is there about the impact on adult citizens and carers when assessments are outcomes-based rather than focused on an assessment of needs?

In 2005, the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York published the findings of a study looking at ways of incorporating outcomes into assessment processes for younger adults with disabilities (Harris et al., 2005). The research is about policy and practice in England, and a different outcomes framework from the Talking Points Personal Outcomes Approach . However, its findings are still relevant to Scotland.

The researchers found that both professionals and service users were positive about a switch from needs-based to outcomes-based services. Significantly, service users valued the choice and control they thought that it gave them over the assessment process. Using outcomes-based tools also offered a broader assessment, although some professionals found this breadth challenging and/or thought that they needed more training about how to support people to meet outcomes in relation to (for example) employment, leisure and training. Some professionals also found it difficult to move from the role of ‘expert’ or ‘assessor’ to ‘broker’ or ‘facilitator’.

Cook and Miller (2012a) stress the importance of a ‘whole system approach’ to enable professionals, services and organisations to move towards focusing on personal outcomes, involving changes in:

  • culture e.g. greater recognition of different types of expertise
  • practice e.g. how and when assessments, plans and reviews are undertaken
  • systems e.g. development of different paperwork and IT systems.

There have now been a number of research studies that demonstrate the benefits of an outcomes-focused approach. These studies also highlight the complexities of and barriers to the implementation of self-directed support. If you are interested in finding out more about this research, you may want to follow this up through the investigative tasks at the end of this section.

You have now come to the end of looking at outcomes for adults. If you want to look at the outcomes for children, you should look at that part of this section [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Otherwise you can continue this section of the course.


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