What does it mean for the person receiving support?

Perhaps the most empowering aspect of self-directed support is that people are entitled to know how much budget they have to spend on support and to be kept informed how that budget is being spent to meet their outcomes. Keeping the supported person informed about how much of their budget they are spending and how that is meeting their outcomes has significant implications for provider’s backroom systems.

What does it mean for the support provider?

Developing new models for costing support, shifting the focus away from hourly rates to support based on individual outcomes.

Developing an ethical policy on charging services users and dealing with non-payments.

Working with local authorities to understand how they will cost Individual Budgets and support providers with the transition.

Working with user groups, disabled people’s organisations and brokerage services.

What are the challenges?           

Costing your organisation’s services and support- particularly where support is shared.

Working out if disaggregation is necessary or possible e.g. a drop-in service may need some level of core funding; a shared house may need some level of shared costs.

The move to funding by Individual Budgets (IBs)

Negotiating annualised outcomes-based budgets with commissioners.

Reporting on individual spend in an accessible way.

Dealing with non – payment from a person you support

Budget forecasting when there is an unknown and variable number of individual budget holders purchasing your support

Resources for invoicing every individual and supporting people with managing their budgets

Dealing with the different finance and resource allocation models across 32 different local authorities

Dealing with delayed, or complex implementation approaches by local authorities (systems that remain focussed on hourly rates or existing processes.) 

Top tips

  1. Separate your policy on collecting bad debt according to whether this is service user or organisational debt.
  2. Consider the appointment (or sharing) of a credit controller.
  3. Be practical and try out a system even if it isn’t perfect. The majority of providers who have made substantial finance changes say they had to make revisions to their system as they learned about what was required.
  4. Be critical about the need for disaggregation of costs – where you are going to do this use person centred planning tools to match need and preference to budget.

Focus on accountability to the person (in line with the principles of self-directed support) in developing financial reporting.