What is self-directed support?
When a person has their care and support needs and outcomes assessed by a social care worker, and the support is funded by Devon County Council (or jointly with the NHS), the anticipated cost of that support will be described as a personal budget.
The support can be delivered in several different ways, but self-directed support is where the person takes responsibility for managing their own support arrangements.
One of the aims of self-directed support is to enable people to find more creative, personalised and effective ways of getting their needs and outcomes met.
The person will develop the support plan with their care manager or social worker, and they will take charge of the money required to meet the eligible care and support needs and outcomes that have been identified.
The person will take full responsibility for arranging the support they need with providers.
The personal budget can only be spent on activities that meet the person’s health and social care needs but by taking control of their personal budget, they can explore more creative and innovative ways of achieving the goals agreed in their support plan.
Jo from Exeter, who has limited mobility, explains:
“We had a really helpful conversation about what I was worried about today, and what I can do for myself. We talked about who I spend time with and the family and friends near me.”
“Then we talked about where I can go locally for help. I didn’t realise there was so much support out there. My son helped me buy some equipment online which meant I could have a bath whenever I wanted.”
This means more choice about who provides their support and more control over how it is provided to them.
Having more choice and control means having more responsibilities and having more decisions to make.
The person managing the direct payment must be able to understand the contractual arrangements with individual providers and have contingency plans in place to try to ensure that support needs are always covered.
The responsibilities increase if the person is directly employing a personal assistant because they take on all the responsibilities of an employer and need to be able to understand and manage them efficiently and legally.
If a person would not be able to manage themselves, someone else can do it for them but that person must be capable and understand and agree to the responsibilities they’re taking on.
There is some financial support available for administering the personal budget but, by self-directing their own support, all the responsibilities for the support arrangements and their management transfer from the Council to the person.