Individual Service Fund (ISF)

An Individual Service Fund is a mechanism for controlling an individual budget using an organisation.

An Individual Service Fund (ISF) is a mechanism for controlling an individual budget within an organisation. It is restricted funding and can be spent flexibly to achieve the best possible outcomes for the person.


Organisations often found that funding mechanisms were unduly restricting - specifying how funding was to be used and removing discretion and flexibility from service providers. Individual Service Funds were developed at Inclusion Glasgow in 1996 and were designed to overcome this problem and to put in place an individual funding mechanism that could be used with the necessary flexibility to provide personalised support to people with complex needs. It is also used by organisations such as Partners for Inclusion and C-Change for Inclusion.


An Individual Service Fund (ISF) is a restricted fund; money is held by the service provider and used to develop an outcomes-focused support solution. 

It is legitimate to charge some organisational costs against the budget, but these must be subject to clear and agreed rules:

The ISF model is particularly useful for people who don't want the bother of managing a direct payment but who want flexible and personalised support.

The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Individual Service Fund © Simon Duffy 2010.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

Inspiration | 10.07.10

local government, England, Scotland, Inspiration

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