Individual Service Funds

This morning I read ‘How we can start a social care revolution in seven easy steps’ by Katie Johnson, KPMG, in the Guardian Social Care Network. I agree with her ideas, but not that it is easy. If it was easy, it would have been done by now. I am one of the many, many people who want to see this change, and be part of this change. Here I want to share what I am see my colleagues doing to actually move towards the steps she describes. I want to call out the people who are making it happen, and what else we need – some of the detail to deliver the big ideas.

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If ISFs are so great, why are n’t there more of them? I asked commissioner Ann Lloyd, interim strategic commissioner, to share how she is creating the opportunity for ISFs in London, and her views from a commissioning perspective. She says,
“ISFs bring vital ingredients of flexibility, creativity and coordination. They are efficient building on the strengths of all involved. Providers take a key role and good plans help keep people’s families engaged. ISFs can help plan beyond immediate personal care needs (most using home care have multiple needs), be more organised, more flexible, listen to support staff who can pick up on issues. This improves care but could also help people avoid hospital or get home sooner, help reduce staff turnover and offer a supportive way for families and friends to be “part of the team”.”

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Martin Walker is the Policy Advisor for Personalised Commissioning and Self-directed support for TLAP. He leads on Individual Service Funds (ISFs) and over Social Care Curry a few weeks ago I was expressing my frustration that ISFs are still misunderstood and underused but potentially transformative for people and providers. Councils have a duty to offer Personal Budgets in all three of the specified ways under the Care Act, so why is this not happening? I asked Martin to help answer some questions about ISFs for this blog, and next week we are working together with NWADASS and TLAP to see if we can encourage and support people to use them more.

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