Seven steps to self directed support

The seven step process to help people direct their own support

Step 1: Identifying an indicative budget

If someone is entitled to an individual budget, a Guided Self Assessment (GSA) is undertaken. The GSA form is designed to enable people to think about key areas in their lives and focuses both on things people can do as well as areas where they may need help. As people may need support for a wide range of reasons, the form is designed to work across very different circumstances.

Points are allocated at each section of the form according to the agreed score and each point has a money value attached. The total points value results in an indicative budget being identified.

Step 2: Support planning

The budget will remain indicative until a support plan which details how the budget will be used to enable the person to meet their outcomes has been agreed. There are seven essential criteria that should be covered in any plan

  • What is important to the person
  • What are their specific, intended outcomes
  • How will they be supported
  • How will they use their individual budget
  • How will their support be managed
  • How will they stay in control
  • Action plan

The plan must also highlight assessed risks and detail how these may be enabled.

Step 3: Agreeing the plan

Social workers have the responsibility of agreeing that individual support plans will enable people to achieve their outcomes. If it is assessed that the support arrangement detailed in the plan will enable the person to do this, the plan will be agreed. (Where there is an intention to spend an individual budget illegally or to use it in such a way that would bring the council into disrepute, the support plan will not be agreed.)

Step 4: Organising the money

There are three main ways that individual budgets can be used;

· As a Direct Payment

· As an Individual Service Fund - where a support provider manages the budget on someone's behalf

· As a Virtual Budget - where North Lanarkshire Council administers the budget.

People are not restricted to choosing one option and can elect to have a combination of the above.

Step 5: Organising support

Self directed support is very flexible; individual budgets do not have to be spent on services but can also be spent on anything that will enable people to achieve their agreed outcomes. People have the option of spending some of their money on a service or a personal assistant and some on other less traditional items or services - so long as their social worker has agreed that what they plan to spend the money on will enable them to achieve their agreed outcomes.

Step 6: Living your life

Self directed support enables people to arrange flexible support arrangements; if the way that someone has arranged their support is not working, their arrangements can change as they work out what works best for them.

Step 7: Seeing how it worked

Social workers help people evaluate how effective their support has been in helping them achieve their outcomes through individual meetings and formal reviews. At the point of review, the focus will not be on the service received but to what extent support arrangements have enabled the person to meet their outcomes.


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