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What is Personalisation?

Frequently asked questions about the government's plans for the development of Personalisation in social care services

What is Personalisation?

St Anne’s already provides person centred services to everybody we support. Our services already aim to meet each person’s individual needs and wishes.

Currently, however, the great majority of people who receive support from St Anne’s and most other providers have their support bought for them by service commissioners who themselves choose the support provider (with varying degrees of involvement of the people who will receive those services).

Personalisation is the process of enabling people to be more in control of the services they receive. Every person who receives support, whether funded by Social Services or by themselves, will have choice and control over the shape of that support. This already fits with St Anne’s belief in ensuring independence, opportunity and inclusion.

Independent living is one of the goals of personalisation. It does not mean living on your own or doing things alone, but rather it means "having choice and control over the assistance and/or equipment needed to go about your daily life having equal access to housing, transport and mobility, health, employment and education and training opportunities" (Office of Disability Issues 2008).

Personalised support can take a number of forms, ranging from total control where people may have the money themselves and control the whole process of recruiting support, to Individual Support Funds where people may choose to leave the money with the funder but still have a full say in the support provided and how it is provided.

What is the difference between a Direct Payment a Personal Budget and an Individual Budget?

Direct Payment

A Direct Payment is a cash payment from adult social care made to individuals which is based on an assessment of the amount of support they are judged to need.

The person can use the cash payment to meet their support needs. This may include employing personal assistants, buying special equipment, accessing community activities such as going to a gym or any combination of these.

With direct payments the person has the full responsibility of spending the money themselves including the responsibilities of employing and paying their staff, although some local authorities provide support with some aspects of this.

Personal Budget

An assessment of support needs is made, following which a payment is made by Adult Social Care Services for the purpose of meeting those needs.

A person can choose to either take their personal budget as a direct payment, or, while still choosing how their care needs are met and by whom, leave councils with the responsibility of commissioning the services. A person could also have some combination of the two.

Individual Budget

Following an assessment of needs, an overall budget is set for a range of services with money coming not just from adult social care but also from a number of benefits and grants.

A person can again choose to have the money directly themselves or they may decide to use an agent, or broker, to handle it for them, or they may ask the local authority to hold on to the money and commission services for them based on what they say they want.

Individual budgets have a number of key features :

  • It should be clear to each person how much money has been allocated to them to spend on their care and support packages.
  • The person should be central to the process, using their money in a way that suits their own situation and needs, with a clear focus on self-assessment. This is irrespective of whether they are handling the money directly or not.
  • Resources from different agencies, not just social care monies, can be gathered together and accessed from the one individual budget to give the individual a more joined-up package of support.
  • Individual budget holders are encouraged to devise support plans to help them meet desired outcomes and they can purchase support from social services, the private sector, voluntary or community groups or families and friends.

Why is Personalisation important?

In 2007 the Government’s paper “Putting People First” stated that people should have maximum choice and control over the services they receive.

Personalisation therefore takes the values of working in a person centred way further than before in enabling people to have much more control over the services they need and in developing a system whereby services are built around people rather than people having to fit into existing services.

How does it affect the people St Anne's supports?

Personalisation means starting with the individual. We recognise every person has strengths, preferences and aspirations as well as needs and a circle of family, friends and other resources and support mechanisms around them.

Each client is at the centre of the process of identifying their needs and making choices regarding their support and care.

In this way services are tailored and developed around the requirements of the individual instead of the individual having to fit in with the requirements of the service.

How is it different to what St Anne's does now?

Currently, most of our services are commissioned directly by local authorities and Primary Care Trusts. The service commissioners define what sort of service is needed and pay for this directly.

With personalised services, more and more of the services we provide will be bought directly by people or by local authorities holding money on people’s behalf, commissioning services from us on behalf of that person.

This means, quite rightly, that we will be far more accountable to the person we are supporting than to the traditional commissioners of services.

When is it all going to happen?

Personalisation is happening now. Over 50,000 people already receive a direct Budget and purchase services themselves. Thirteen local authority areas have already run a pilot called "In Control" enabling people to obtain services through Individual Budgets.

A number of the areas in which we work are well ahead in planning to enable people to have personal or individual budgets.

St Anne’s is ready for this, we have a strategy in place which means we are working to ensure that all we are ready to provide services to people who have personal or individual budgets whether they are paying directly for the service themselves or asking local authorities to purchase a service on their behalf.

What is a personal assistant?

This is the term which is been used to describe a support worker who is employed directly by the person themselves rather than through an organisation like St Anne’s.

For more information, please contact


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