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

4.7 Managing risk

One of the challenges involved in implementing personalisation lies in distinguishing between perceived and actual risks of harm. Both are important, because perceived risks can inhibit the creativity required by personalisation, while the actual risks can result in harm to those involved. The next exercise is an opportunity to think about how risks can be managed, and prevented, so that they do not act as a barrier to enabling choice and control.

Figure 4.9: Easy access to advice, guidance and the support of others can help to prevent and manage potential problems including risk of harm

Activity 4.9 Managing risks

Timing: (20 minutes)

Look back at the possible risks you identified in, for example, Activity 4.4 . and Activity 4.5 (children and families) or Activity 4.7 (adults). Make notes in your learning log [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] about what you think would help to address some of these risks.


You may have suggested a range of different ways in which possible risks might be managed. Your examples might include:

  • providing publicity and information to people using services and to the general public, e.g. on how to seek advice or help when they are concerned about risk of harm
  • ensuring that people's voices, including those of adults and children as well as parents, are heard
  • providing training for personal assistant s, professionals, people using services and carers
  • using ‘light touch’ methods of auditing, monitoring and reviewing support that focus on whether people are being supported assisted towards the agreed outcomes
  • recruiting personal assistants through an agency or third party
  • ensuring there is easy access to advice and practical support
  • enlisting local peer support from other people who are directing their own support.
  • providing access to independent advocacy.

You may well have thought about other examples of ways of managing risk. Your list may also have included actions for employers, personal assistants and for professionals and their employers.

One of the questions people have about self directing their support is about the extent to which the personal assistant workforce is regulated. Personal assistants are not regulated by law in the way that, for example, nurses, support workers and social workers are. However, individuals who employ a personal assistant can require the individual to register with the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme . The PVG scheme is a membership scheme that ensures that people who are barred from working with certain vulnerable groups are not able to be employed in this capacity.


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