Self-directed Support: A Guide for Carers

A guide for Carers who are looking after someone who gets support from the local council.

Appendix: Glossary

If you are not familiar with self-directed support, a lot of words and phrases that are used in this guide may be new to you. The glossary gives a definition of these words and phrases.

Assessment: The process of working out what your needs are and how you would like them to be met. It should involve you, a professional (such as a social worker) and other people such as other family members.

Carers have a carer's assessment, which is an assessment carried out to identify the needs of a carer. People with support needs have an assessment of their own, which can be called a community care assessment or an assessment of care needs.

Capacity: This is when people who are aged 16 or over are legally capable of making personal decisions for themselves and of managing their own affairs. People who cannot do this because of an illness, disability or condition do not have capacity.

Direct payment: Your direct payment is money that is paid to you, usually into a separate bank account in your name, to pay for your support needs. You manage this money and it must be spent on services that meet your support needs.

Eligibility criteria: The council's rules on who can get support. The rules are based on the level of risk to a person if they do not get support, or the risk to a carer if they do not get support to help them to care.

Guardianship: A guardianship order is a court appointment which authorises a person to take action or make decisions on behalf of an adult with incapacity.

Individual budget: Money that is allocated to you by your local council to pay for care or support to meet your assessed needs. The way the budget has been decided should be clearly explained by the professional working with you. You should be given the chance to agree the budget before the support plan is put into action.

Outcomes: 'Outcomes' means the benefits or positive changes you should experience as a result of the support provided to you. Your outcomes will be decided by you, and will reflect what matters most to you and what you want to change.

Personal assistant: A person who provides support to you who you directly employ through a direct payment (option 1).

Power of attorney: Power of Attorney (PoA) is a written document that says someone can make decisions on behalf of someone else. Carers often have PoA for the people they're looking after when the person is no longer able to make decisions or communicate by themselves.

Continuing power of attorney is a power to look after someone's property or money, if they are not able to handle things by themselves or make decisions.

Welfare power of attorney is a power to make decisions about someone's personal health and care needs, if they are not able to decide this for themselves.

Service provider or support provider: A service provider is an agency, voluntary organisation or local authority that provides or arranges your support services. It could be:

  • An organisation that provides staff and other support to you (sometimes people call these care providers or care agencies).
  • A personal assistant that you employ to support you
  • The council or the NHS
  • Or any organisation that provides a service that could help you

Support plan: A document that identifies how an individual's support needs will be met. A support plan is drawn up following the assessment process between the council and the individual.


Email: Heather Palmer

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