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

5.13 Making personalisation happen

The focus of this section has been the role of the workforce rather than citizens who draw on its support. Like many aspects of personalisation, there are no neat boundaries between the supported person and the people who support them. Their supporters can be friends, family members, neighbours, community groups, advocates, brokers, personal assistants and professionals like social workers and nurses. These roles may overlap and intertwine; sometimes they may be paid, sometimes not. Sometimes the term, 'circle of support' is used to give a sense of the collaboration, partnership and reciprocity that can be involved. We go back now to Sara and her family, who were introduced at the start of KG097, and have regularly reappeared in earlier sections – what might their circle of support look like?

Figure 5.12

Activity 5.10: Making a support plan

Timing: (40 minutes)

Sara has been assessed by her local authority as having care needs, and also has support at school. Her family has provided most of her support at home, but this is becoming increasingly difficult as her grandparents become less able to give her the support she needs when Lela, her mother, is at work. Sara's care needs have now been reassessed and Lela, in consultation with the family, has chosen to access an individual budget that she has responsibility for administering on Sara's behalf.

What sources of support do you think that the family might access to develop a support plan for Sara?

If you prefer, you may want to undertake this exercise in relation to the support that Gita might make use of to develop her self-directed support plan. Use your learning log [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] to note down your ideas.

You may find it helpful to look at these resources from In Control and IRISS before you start this exercise:

Making your support plan (In Control)

Self Directed Support: Pick 'n' Mix (IRISS)


Of course you don't know very much about Sara, Gita or the rest of the family - it might be that they would feel confident to make a plan, to employ a personal assistant, for example, without any help from outside the family. However, many families are likely to need, at the least, information and advice about taking on the responsibility of becoming an employer, and on selecting a PA (or several PAs) to provide the support that Sara (or Gita) needs. Thinking about Sara, her needs are quite complex and potentially increasingly sensitive as she grows up and wants more independence. If a PA is to be involved in, for example, continence care, then Lela will need to be satisfied about any PA's ability to meet these needs, including their ability to provide care and support in respectful ways that promote Sara's dignity and privacy. These value-based outcomes will be as important as those relating to the practical, physical support that Sara will need. Some similar considerations are likely to be important to Gita if a PA is to help her dress and wash in the mornings.

You may have identified a range of sources of information, advice and support, including:

  • family members
  • friends
  • other families with children with disabilities
  • Sara's school
  • Sara's (or Gita's) GP
  • district nurse
  • social worker
  • independent advocate e.g. to represent Sara or Gita in discussions with the local authority about levels or types of care and support
  • brokerage, e.g. to provide independent information and advice about options for support
  • advice centre
  • the internet.

It might be that the family would just need some preliminary information and advice, or they may feel that they need ongoing involvement from, for example, a community brokerage network or local authority to manage the support plan that they have created. It will be vital for Sara and Gita, that their wishes, likes and dislikes to be at the centre of the planning process. The resultant plan will require monitoring, review, and it is very likely that there will be regular review meetings involving Sara (or Gita), their family, supporters and involved professionals.

This activity is a reminder that all our discussions about the workforce and personalisation needs to remain centred on the purpose of the workforce being there in the first place – to meet the outcomes identified as important by the service user. It is also a reminder that when we talk about 'the workforce' we also have to understand the important roles of other members of a child's, or an adult's, support circle – members of their family and wider community.


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