Frequently asked questions
What is self-directed support?
The government wants people who need social care support to have more choice and control over their lives, and have asked all local authorities to introduce new ways of supporting people. In practice, this means making social care more personalised and giving people more choice and control over the support they receive.
Self-directed support fits within the government’s ‘personalisation’ agenda. It is an innovative approach to providing social care to older people and adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues, physical disabilities and sensory impairment. Instead of a package of care being organised by Shropshire Council, self-directed support gives individuals more opportunity to identify their own needs and enables them to plan how to meet them. People who are eligible for social care support will be offered a personal budget to help them do this. Key elements of self-directed support include:
- Individuals identify what they think their social care needs are
- Eligible individuals given an early indication of funding available to support their needs
- Individuals (with appropriate help) develop a support plan showing how their needs will be met
- Individuals (with help if required) decide how services to meet their needs should be arranged.
What is the benefit of self-directed support?
Many areas have offered people self-directed support for a while now and there have been evaluations of what difference they make for people. The evidence has shown that when people are able to be more in control of the important decisions around how they get support, they report much greater satisfaction with that support. If people are able to get support tailored to their individual needs it has been shown that they are able to achieve more of the things that really matter to them and can live their lives in a way that suits them.
When is self-directed support being implemented in Shropshire?
We started to offer self-directed support to people from June 2010. This means that all new people referred who are eligible for support will be offered a personal budget and all people at review.
Since May 2010 older people and people with a physical disability in the southeast of the county have been offered self-directed support so that we can test our new systems gradually.
What is the difference between self-directed support and current assessment processes?
Under the current process a care manager/social worker is responsible for completing an assessment of needs and, for those eligible, devising a care plan showing how their needs will be met. The individual has limited choice and control in this process. How much the service will cost is normally only known when the care plan is put together.
Under self-directed support people agree with their care manager their social care support needs and the outcomes they need to achieve, and plan how to meet them with a personal budget - an up-front indication of the funding available. People complete a self-assessment questionnaire. This asks a series of questions that enable the individual to state what their needs are. The care manager/social worker will also do a professional assessment and together this information is used to arrive at an indicative personal budget amount. With whatever help they need, the person then produces a support plan listing their support needs, the goals they want to achieve, and how they will spend their personal budget to meet their needs. The support plan is agreed by the council and, once agreed, the personal budget is finalised and released.
What is the difference between a care plan and a support plan?
Care plans mainly concentrate on how services will meet eligible individuals' care and support needs. They tend to be task focused (e.g. need support getting out of bed at 8am). Support plans are more person centred, and whilst covering the above also tell you more about the person, what is important to them and what they want to change in their lives. They also include information about how informal networks and community support can be built on to meet outcomes.
How can we make sure that individuals understand what is involved in self-directed support and are able to make their own decisions?
The Mental Capacity Act provides a framework within which we should work. This assumes people have the capacity to make decisions for themselves unless it is shown otherwise. This means people must have an assessment of their capacity before decisions are made for them. Policies for supporting risk and control will provide a positive risk-taking framework. This will make sure people are able to make informed choices and be given support where risks are taken.
What will happen to people receiving grouped services like day care?
If individuals wish to use self-directed support to leave grouped services they can do. Alternatively, people could continue to use their current service but that does not mean that these services won’t have to change, as it may be that not everyone using that service will choose to continue to do so. The challenge for all service providers is to provide flexible and responsive services that people will wish to continue to receive.
Does self-directed support mean we will have to close all the day centres?
No. However, there will be a challenge for providers to ensure they are providing services people will wish to continue to receive.
Aren't individualised services socially isolating compared to grouped services?
Not necessarily. While grouped services like day centres provide social contact, people may choose much more individual options that also provide this, such as using social clubs, cafes and leisure centres. Alternatively, some people might choose to "pool" their budgets with others with a shared interest, and spend them together as a group for particular activities, and this will make their money go further too.
How will this affect carers?
Carers are integral to getting this right for the person needing support. If someone relies on a family carer then we need to continue to make sure that the carer is getting the information, support and the breaks that they need in order to continue providing that role. We will be offering carers personal budgets, and this work is being developed at the moment by talking and listening to carers, and finding out what is going on elsewhere in the country that we can learn from.
How will self-directed support work for young people in transition to adult services?
Self-directed support will not only mean that young people can tailor their support to what works for them, building on those things that are important in their lives, but it also will mean that families and young people will have information much earlier on so that they can plan in advance knowing, roughly, how much money they might be able to use from Adult Social Care to help pay for their support costs. A project is underway at the moment working with some young people and families to shape the ‘pathway’ that will introduce self-directed support for young people.
Where can I find out more about self-directed support?
There is a lot of information on the In Control website www.in-control.org.uk . If you would like to know more about what we are doing in Shropshire please contact the My Life My Choice team on 01743 254635 or email@example.com, and there will be more information coming on the Shropshire Council website soon.