If the goal is independent living, the route is self-directed support and the vehicle is individual budgets.
Individual budgets are part of the self-directed support model. The term 'individual budgets' refers to the money that people use flexibly to buy the support or other things they need to meet the outcomes they have identified in their support plans.
How much money people are entitled to is determined by the completion of the Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). The SAQ is part of the Resource Allocation System (RAS) that local authorities produce when introducing the self-directed support model. Find out more about self-directed support on the in Control website.
Once completed, the SAQ results in a score, a number of points, that equates to an indicative amount that is the individual budget. People are then able to plan how to use their individual budget. Once someone's plan has been agreed by the local authority care manager, they are then given their individual budget to manage themselves.
Managing your budget
People don't have to hold or manage the individual budget themselves. If they wish, someone appointed as an agent, a trust or an organisation can act on their behalf to hold and manage their individual budget. Alternatively, the local authority may continue to hold and manage their individual budget if they prefer.
Individual budgets consist of money from local authorities social care budgets, and many also include money from other funding streams such as supporting people money and the Independent Living Fund.
The government is working with local authorities to explore how other funding streams could be used as part of an individual budget. These are known as the individual budget pilots.
- For more information, visit the Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) website.
Individual budgets have also been called 'personal budgets'. The thinktank Demos produced an independent evaluation called 'Making It Personal' (in which Demos refer to individual budgets as personal budgets).
- For more information, visit the Demos website.
Keywords and useful links
- Minimum standards: care standards that have been implemented as part of the Care Standards Act 2000. These standards give those receiving and those delivering care a clear understanding of outcomes to be achieved.
- Individualised budgets: the main idea behind individual budgets is to put the person who is supported, or given services, in control of deciding what support or services they get - CSIP 2006.