What it means for the person receiving support?

Central to the concept of self-directed support is the idea that people have ongoing choice and control over who it is that supports them and when. That degree of desired choice and control will vary from person to person. For some it will mean choosing an organisation that provides reliable and regular staff, for others it might mean being able to choose specific individual support workers who share common interests or hobbies.

What it means for the provider organisation?

For providers, personalisation will mean involving the people you support in your organisation and your workforce.  Providers may opt for a fully personalised, recruitment model where the supported person can be involved in choosing, interviewing and selecting their support worker. Supported people may also be involved in the development of job descriptions and staff rotas. Other providers are using a ‘matching model’ where support workers are matched to the people they support based on similar interests and hobbies using ‘One Page Profiles’.

Taking into account the views of supported people and their families as well as information from support plans and reviews when conducting supervision and appraisal of staff.

What are the challenges?

Balancing the rights of your employees with increased expectations of the people you support

Organisations may need to consider whether or not their existing staff complement is sufficiently flexible to meet with the demands of supported individuals who will want flexibility.

Having a policy and procedure in place in the event that there is a breakdown in the relationship between matched staff and the supported person.

Some providers are concerned as to how Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) interacts with SDS. TUPE applies to all sizes and types of businesses and are intended to protect the rights of employees should a business be outsourced, brought in-house or sold.

SDS potentially brings in more freedom of movement of staff – particularly where a model of direct recruitment to a supported person is in place. ACAS provides a useful overview of TUPE. We advise that providers take legal advice where they think TUPE might apply as this is a complex area of legislation.

Top tips

  • One page profiles are an option to help ensure the supported person and the staff members know what is important to each other.
  • Open and honest consultation with employees before seeking to build in flexibility to their contracts reduce risk.
  • As an organisation decide how, and to what extent, you will match staff with the people you support. For example your organisation could:
    • arrange geographical or neighbourhood teams enabling supported people to have a core group of say 3-4 key staff with usually one person providing the majority of the support and contact. This system allows for providing of continuity of care and engagement.
    • alternatively an organisation might seek to precisely match supported people with supported people based on personalities, outlook on life, hobbies and experiences. Giving the supported person the opportunity to design the job description and participate in the interview of prospective candidates
    • Or somewhere between the two.