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

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

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?

Timing: (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.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371