Self Directed Futures
Chris Watson leads Citizen Network's work on Self-Directed Support in England and in particular the use of Individual Service Funds to help everyone benefit from increased control and flexibility in their health and social care.
Self-directed support is the name for systems to ensure people who need extra assistance can control that support. In some countries, like England and Scotland, it is possible to manage an individual (or personal) budget for support using a direct payment - cash goes directly to you and you take full responsibility for spending it and employing your own staff.
However many people do not want to directly manage their budget. Many people need or prefer some kind of shared management where someone else - a person or organisation - helps you manage your budget. This can even be a community organisation that will also help organise assistance or employ staff for you.
In the past many organisations have organised support in ways that give you little control over what you do or how you are supported. But increasingly community organisations are learning how to develop more flexible and personalised forms of support.
Indvidual Service Funds (ISFs)
In order to enable personalised support and forms of shared management it is often necessary to enable public funding bodies (local authorities and the NHS in the UK) to organise their systems differently. This means moving away from systems of top-down control and moving towards systems where people can do make their own choices.
Simon Duffy, was an early pioneer of personalised support and invented the concept of Individual Service Funds in 1996. Chris Watson has been leading some of the most significant developments of new forms of flexible commissioning using ISFs in Dorset and around the South West.
Chris is now leading Citizen Network's work in this area with a strong focus on supporting local authorities to build an offer that includes Individual Service Funds and flexible support contracting.
If you are interested in finding out more about this work please get in touch with Chris by email.