Handling risk

Part of enabling increased choice and control for people is allowing risks to be taken, and managed, in a way that achieves their outcomes. Enabling risk is a way to maximise people’s choice and control over both their support and lives. Providers sometimes face challenges in changing their organisational culture and approach to risk taking, often opting for more risk-averse ways of doing things. Positive approaches to risk enablement feature a clarity amongst staff as to what is acceptable and a focus on continued person-centredness. Some tips for providers around risk include:

  • Using ordinary language to talk about risk – what are we worried about? How worried are we? What can we do to worry less?
  • Develop the right tools for carrying out risk assessments and supporting risk.
  • Promote positive risk taking to focus on outcomes and enabling choice.
  • Acknowledge new care standards and Care Inspectorate thematic inspection.
  • Involve people receiving support in decision making.
  • Share responsibility for risk between all stakeholders (provider, local authority, supported person and third parties).

The resulting support plan will give consideration to any risk involved in the identified outcomes along with the person’s needs and the support required to meet these. The supported person might prefer the provider to take the lead in the planning process, though input may also come from family, a social worker, an advocate or other involved third parties.

Good conversations encourage people to take control and make decisions about their care and support. Some useful questions to consider when planning and reviewing a support plan include:

  • What and who is important to the person receiving support?
  • Where do they go to find the information they need?
  • What are the main things they can do without support?
  • What are the main risks they face? How can these be managed?
  • What kind of things do they want to do?
  • How do they want their support arranged?

The plan should focus on flexibility, personalised and outcomes based support and should be available to the supported person in a way that is meaningful to and helpful for them. To keep up with any changes in circumstances, the support plan should be regularly reviewed, giving the individual an opportunity to express what is working well and what needs to be changed.

Again, providers will want to ensure the person is aware that they can change how their support is delivered, arranged and paid for and that they are always at the centre of this process. This will help to achieve the best possible outcomes for the supported person.