Individual Service Funds

I met Yumi on Linked In at the end of last year, when she responded to one of my posts about Wellbeing Teams. I was delighted to hear how she is supporting organisations in Austraila to move towards self-management and I was keen to learn more. In January we had a conversation (which I also recorded as a podcast) and I want to share what she is trying and learning. She has supported 13 disability providers to explore self-management with excellent results.

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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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