What is self-directed support?

Self-directed support is about giving people control of the support they receive and the life they lead. It may be referred to as 'personalisation' or 'personal budgets', but whatever name is given to the scheme the important thing to remember is that it is intended to empower and enable individuals.

You do not have to use this system if you don't want to and social services can still be fully involved in planning and delivering your support. If you are not receiving help at the moment, you can apply at any time to your local social services department.

The scheme operates slightly differently in different areas depending on how each local authority implements it, but this section provides a general overview of how it will work in most places.

How can you self-direct your care and support?

There are a number of ways this can be done:

  • A personal budget - This refers to money allocated to an individual by the local authority in order to fund their assessed care and support needs.
  • An individual budget - This combines resources from different funding areas as well as social care funding, such as health care, the Independent Living Fund or Supporting People funding.
  • A direct payment - This refers to payments made directly to you so you can arrange your own support. They can be in regular instalments or one-off payments.
  • A personal health budget - This is an allocation of resources made to a person with an established health need (or their immediate representative). They are relatively new and are currently being piloted by the Department of Health.