What is a Support Plan?
This is the plan that states how service users will use their Personal Budgets to meet their needs. Support Plans are “owned” by the individual and agreed by the Council via a signed agreement.
Support Plans should show how individuals will remain healthy and safe and should also specify what is important to them, what needs to be changed or achieved to meet the needs and outcomes that have been agreed, and the support that they will need to achieve these goals. It also needs to show how the Personal Budget will be used.
It will be recorded how the Support Plan enables Shropshire Council in partnership with the individual service user, to meet the criteria published in Transforming Social Care. These are to:
- Live independently (ie. to have the maximum control possible over life decisions and any support arrangements).
- Stay healthy and recover quickly from illness.
- Exercise maximum control over their own life and, where appropriate, the lives of their family members.
- Sustain a family unit that avoids children being required to take on inappropriate caring roles.
- Participate as active and equal citizens - both economically and socially.
- Have the best possible quality of life irrespective of illness or disability.
- Retain maximum dignity and respect, whilst minimising undue risks of harm to the individual or to others.
Who writes the Support Plan?
The Support Plan can be written by the service user, together with a member of their family, or someone close to them who knows them well, or with support from anyone else chosen by the service user, including a voluntary sector organisation. A Care Manager can also help with the plan and provide information about what services are available. However, this is the services user’s Support Plan and it needs to be written in a format that makes sense to them.
What happens once the Support Plan is written?
Once it is written, an individual’s Support Plan needs to be agreed by Shropshire Council. Once the Support Plan has been agreed, the Personal Budget is made available.
What is the difference between an Indicative Budget and a Personal Budget?
The Indicative Budget is the amount the person is informed of as a result of the assessment process. It is used to help individuals to construct their Support Plan. The Personal Budget is the money actually agreed once the Support Plan has been signed off. (Often the Support Plan costs a bit less than the indicative allocation as it is not essential to spend right up to the amount. On occasions, there may be a good reason why the indicative allocation isn’t quite enough and this would be looked at when the Support Plan is submitted and may or may not be agreed at that stage. If not, support would be provided to bring the Support Plan costing within the indicative allocation. The reason for this is that we need to be much fairer about what we are paying for people’s support and if people have roughly the same needs and are in roughly the same circumstances, there would need to be a good reason why more money would be made available to one person and not the other.
What happens if help is also needed from the NHS?
Currently NHS health funding is not included within Personal Budgets unless the care or support is arranged by Shropshire Council under jointly funded arrangements (e.g. through a Section 75 partnership arrangement).
What records should people keep?
Shropshire Council will be interested in the outcomes that people achieve – are they getting the life they have set out in their Support Plan? The Council will also need to check if money has been used on what was agreed and that it has been used legally so people have to keep some records. What they need to keep depends on if they are managing the money themselves or if someone else is doing it for them.
If they are receiving the money themselves (Direct Payment) they have to keep bank statements, basic accounts of what they’ve received and what they’ve spent. If they are employing personal assistants or other staff, then they have to keep a record of payroll and have employment documents like insurance certificate, a contract etc. They don’t have to keep a receipt for every cup of coffee or bus ticket.