Getting ready for change

Mary Schumm is the Director of Learning DisabilitiesAs Director of Learning Disabilities, I’m part of a team overseeing a bold scheme which should change the lives of the people we support for the better. It’s a big step towards providing a really person-centred service and it’s a pilot project which will affect 37 people living in three London Boroughs. Our aim is to roll this process out across the whole organisation once we have learned all we can from the pilot.

Our plan is to empower the people we support and increase our accountability to them by creating Individual Service Funds (ISFs). This is a considerable cultural shift for us as an organisation. Many of us may already be working in a person centred way, but the shift in control is a big step for us.

By supporting people using recognised person-centred practices we can ensure our approach to each individual is based on evidence not opinion. Using tools which place the individual we are supporting at the centre of their own lives will help us develop a genuinely person-centred ethos. Reinforcing this approach with highly personalised budgets means we are handing more power to the individual so that they can take more control of their lives.
We will determine Individual Service Funds by splitting the block budget allocated to each service using a nationally recognised tool called the “Care Funding Calculator”.  The ISF will then be split three ways; “Core Support” which is support used towards fixed purposes such as keeping the individual healthy and safe, “Shared Support” which is support that is shared with others,  and a new element called “In My Personal Control” which is support that an individual has complete control over and can change the purpose of. This third part of the budget indicates a significant move towards a tangibly, more person-centred approach and will give each individual much more choice and control over how their money is spent and who they choose to support them.

When we first started planning it quickly became clear that the impact of this project would be felt throughout the organisation; from finance and HR to housing, support and respite.  This isn’t an operational adjustment; it’s a major change which will affect the entire organisation and we realised everyone needs to be on board from the outset.

We also recognised that we would need to be very clear in our communication so that anyone involved with the project was on board with what we were doing.   From reading about other organisations who have attempted something like this we also saw that our preparation needed to be detailed and thorough.  As a team we have spent a long time creating an in-depth plan charting what is required, by who and when. This step by step approach has given me confidence to embark on this daunting task, but I also know that we may not always be able to stick to the plan. We will have to flexible because this is a learning process and we are ready to learn.

Mary Schumm, Director of Learning Disabilities

New blog starting on Individual Service Funds. Follow this exciting new project with us.

Welcome to our new blog.  Members of the ISF Project Team will soon start blogging away to keep you updated on this exciting and demanding new project.  To start off here is the article  May Lee, Projects Manager, wrote for our News section a couple of weeks ago:

We’ve started an exciting Personalisation Project which will transform the way we work and see a real increase in:

•    Choice and control for people we support
•    Clearer links between the quality and quantity of the service we provide and each individual’s outcomes

Individual Service Funds (ISF’s) are one of the ways Personalisation can happen.
In 8 of our mental health and learning disability services in Lambeth, Ealing and Hounslow, we are developing a form of ISF’s to people we support.

Our ISF’s will be delivered in the form of hours; we will work out how many hours each individual has direct personal control over and match this with their Person Centred Plans or Recovery and Support Plans so that they get the right support to live the lives they want.

We are using a set of ‘I statements’, introduced to us by Helen Sanderson Associates, which will help us to measure the success of the pilot for each individual:

“I can use my hours / budget flexibly and can choose what I am supported with”

“I am supported where it makes sense for me, at home and out and about”

“I choose who I want to support me, my support worker knows me and I know them”

“I get support on the days and at the times that are right for me”

“I choose how I am supported and my support workers know this is important to me”

“I am fully involved in decisions about my own support and how the wider service develops”

“I am supported to build and maintain my friendships and to be a full and active member of the community”

We expect to learn a lot along the way and one of our key aims is to share our experiences with partners inside and outside of the organisation. We’ve written a guide for staff to talk to families about the project

We will keep you updated on our work through our website so watch this space!