Self-directed Support : my support, my choice: your guide to social care
A guide to help you if you are getting social care support or if you are thinking of getting support
"I tell the council how to spend the money"
What is option 2?
Not everyone will want to get a direct payment but many people will still want the freedom to choose who provides their support.
If you choose option 2 you don't have to get any money. The council will pay the money to one or more organisations that you have chosen. This way you have choice and control but won't have to worry about arranging things.
How is option 2 different from option 1?
The main difference from option 1 is that you don't hold the money yourself, but direct the council, or another organisation, as to how it should be spent. This would mean that you don't need to set up a separate bank account or show how the money has been spent. You still have choice over your support provider.
Another big difference from option 1 is that you cannot directly employ a Personal Assistant. You can only do this through option 1.
If I don't hold the money then who does?
Under option 2 either the council or your chosen support organisation will hold the money.
You can talk with the professional working with you about which arrangement would be better for you.
How do I find out who I can buy support from?
The professional working with you will have a list of local providers in your area. Local support organisations may also be able to give you information on other providers, and your professional will be able to signpost you to these.
Some support organisations will have brokers. A broker is a person whose job it is to provide you with advice and information about what providers and types of support are available in your area.
The Care Inspectorate website has information on finding and choosing a service. You can use its Care Service List to find out about support providers in your area and check their ratings.
Remember that you are the customer so feel free to contact more than one provider before deciding which one to use.
What support can I buy?
You should be able to choose any provider or service as long as the professional working with you agrees that they will help you to meet your support needs.
The professional working with you may refuse your choice of provider or service if they think that the support you have chosen will not give you the kind of support that you agreed during your assessment. (see 'When can the council refuse my choice?' in the 'What if things go wrong?' section). You cannot directly employ a Personal Assistant.
Steve is 32 years old and has autism and learning disabilities. Steve has spent a number of years in a hospital setting due to these difficulties. Steve was very unhappy and often distressed with his situation.
By using an SDS approach he has been supported to successfully return to live in his own flat with support.
Steve, his family and key health staff were involved in the assessment. Steve and his family decided to buy support from a provider using option 2.
The provider involved Steve and his father in the recruitment of a dedicated team to support Steve and work was done to ensure that the right match of workers was found.
Steve has been supported every step of the way to make choices about how he wants to receive his support and regular planning meetings help make sure they are supporting Steve to live the life he wants.
Steve has thrived since his move, takes great pride in his home and is keen to take responsibility for maintaining his home. He is a regular and familiar face around the village and the local pub and has been supported to go on holiday to the Lake District, is learning how to swim and is a keen walker. Steve visits his father regularly and with support is now looking into employment opportunities in his local area.
Steve and his father have felt very involved in the process of assessment and planning and this has resulted in an extremely effective support plan.
Angus and Emily's story
Emily looks after her father, Angus, who is getting older and more frail and needs a bit of help around the house. She does the more heavy-duty housework such as vacuuming and mowing the lawn, as well as going to the supermarket and running errands.
Angus has a stroke and is taken into hospital. He is in hospital for three weeks and during this time Emily has a carer's assessment, organised by the hospital discharge team and the social worker from the council. It establishes that although Emily was able to support Angus before the hospitalisation, the care required when he leaves hospital will be more than what she was doing before, including personal care, and she will need some support because of this. It is also not known how long the more substantial care will be needed for, as recovery following a stroke can be quite variable.
Emily will not be able to cope with this level of caring and uncertainty as she works full-time and has two teenage children. She does not want to provide personal care for Angus, and he would prefer to receive this kind of support from paid care workers. She is still able to visit regularly, and helps with the housework when she visits, as well as picking up shopping, running errands and supporting him when the occupational therapist and physiotherapist visit.
Angus has an assessment himself and is offered support from the local authority, and after talking with Emily about how the support will fit in with the care she can provide, he decides to take support through option 2, asking the council to arrange support from a private care agency who can come and help him with showering, dressing and cooking at times that suit him. The care agency is flexible and will come along in the mornings and evenings to provide personal care and help with making meals. The care workers have shorter visits at weekends and on days when Emily is not at work, as she is able to help Angus with meals then and so the care workers only have to help him wash and dress.
A key safe is installed as well to make it easier for the care workers to access the property. It also means that other family members, such as Angus' other children and his grandchildren, can visit if Emily is not available.
Email: Hetaher Palmer
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