Covid recovery: learning from person-centred approaches

This report draws on four case studies of person-centred approaches to public service delivery, along with wider evidence, and summarises learning from person-centred approaches

Key Findings

  • In recent years in Scotland, there has been an increase in the number of policies described as 'person-centred'. However, there is no common definition or shared understanding of what the term means.
  • From the literature and case studies examined in this paper, four key attributes essential to person-centred approaches were identified. These attributes are:
    • Holistic – starting from an understanding of the person and their needs
    • Ethical – adhering to a set of strong ethical principles
    • Assets based – building on the strengths of the person and their informal networks
    • Relational – recognising the importance of building relationships and trust
  • Within these four key attributes there are a number of additional attributes that were apparent in most, but not all, of the examples of person-centred approaches examined.
  • There are several examples of how the Covid-19 pandemic served to temporarily remove some of the barriers to more person-centred approaches resulting in services taking a more holistic and joined up approach.
  • Person-centred approaches have a number of strengths (in comparison to more traditional approaches to service delivery) in relation to the individual, families, communities, society, front-line staff, and public services.
  • Person-centred approaches can be an important means of building trust and reaching people who have had little previous contact with services.
  • There are a large number of administrative and cultural barriers to adopting a person-centred approach which need to be overcome. These include barriers relating to resourcing, funding, reporting, paternalism, risk adversity, inflexible services, and a lack of appropriately trained staff.
  • Based on existing evidence, the barriers identified above are not insurmountable, and there are examples of how, with strong leadership, these barriers can be overcome.



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