Individual Service Funds – There’s an app for that

14 July 2015 | By Helen Sanderson

This month Think Local Act Personal launched new guidance on Individual Service Funds, describing them as the preferred default option after a direct payment.  This means that people can have a personal budget and control over how their budget it spent, and choice over how they are supported, without the administrative requirements of a direct payment.  Or rather, when an ISF is done well it achieves this.

Many of us remember when person-centred planning was introduced and quickly we saw existing IPP (Individual Programme Planning) processes and paperwork suddenly called ‘PCPs’ without any other changes. Is there a danger of this with ISFs, with existing contracts being now described as an ISF? How would you know whether it is the real thing or a cheap imitation?

Here are some questions to help find out:

  • Can the person choose what they want to be supported with?
  • Can the person choose who supports them?
  • Can the person decide where they are supported – where they spend their time?
  • Can the person decide when they want to be supported?
  • Can the person specify exactly how they what to be supported?
  • Is the person central to all decision-making around their life and service?

I am working with 10 providers and commissioners in Flintshire to see how we can design this into their service and processes. We have mapped out the ‘ideal’ process, from social work assessment through to designing the service with the person. We start with assessed needs and outcomes, and then look at what matters to the person. This is how the new process being explored in Flintshire around home care can deliver what good practice looks like in ISFs.

 

Good practice in ISFs Delivering this in practice in homecare
Can the person choose what they want to be supported with? We start with assessed needs and outcomes and then look with the person at how these can be delivered, how they want their support.
Can the person choose who supports them? We start to learn about what matters to the person, and then look at how to get the best match with staff. We use a matching process that starts with geography – who lives near the person so that we pay attention to keeping travel costs low and have someone with local knowledge and connections. Then we match for personality, and then for shared interests. The manager will find two or three people who would be a good match and the person makes the final decision.
Can the person decide when they want to be supported? We take the person’s outcomes and what they want and need support with and use the ‘perfect week’ to map this. This helps the decision-making about where and when the person wants their support.
Can the person decide where they are supported – where they spend their time? The perfect week also gives us information on where the person wants to be supported. We may use community mapping to help with this.
Can the person specify exactly how they what to be supported? We use a one-page profile to describe how the person wants to be supported generally, and then a doughnut to specify what has to happen on each visit and where the staff member can be creative.
Is the person central to all decision-making around their life and service? The visit that used to be called the assessment, is now called ‘co-designing support’ to signify that we are not assessing what the person needs, but designing their service.

 

We have been working with Real Life Options to develop a free App to support residential services and homecare services both explain what an ISF is, and resources to put this into practice.

This is the link to the app on the app store – http://apple.co/1FdX7g9

Or it can be accessed directly from the home page of the our website – http://helensandersonassociates.co.uk/cst/cst/cst.html

ISFs are a significant way for people to have choice and control over how they use their personal budget, we hope the App helps promote an understanding of what they are and how they work, please let me know what you think.

ISFforblog

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