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How to access Self-directed Support through your Council

If you feel that you have need for a level of care or support in daily living, which is not currently available to you, then you may wish to contact your Council to discuss this with a social worker. Councils have a duty to support people in need and they must be sure that any resources they allocate to people are sufficient to meet those needs.

Each Council may have slightly different processes but it is most likely that in your area there will be a central contact telephone number. You can either call yourself, or have a friend, neighbour, doctor, family member, nurse, or another make contact on your behalf.

A worker will speak with you about what you may need support with and will consider the details you give them. This information will help them decide if you have needs that the council should be helping you with. If they conclude that you may be eligible for support he or she will arrangements for a more detailed assessment to be completed. A worker will be allocated to come and speak with you and start the assessment. How quickly this will happen depends on how urgent your needs are. If you are in hospital a social worker from the hospital will visit you in the ward before discharge to discuss what help you may need at home.

This assessment may involve a number of meetings with you, the worker from the council and maybe your carers or other important people in your life. The Council have a duty to make sure you are involved in the assessment. The worker will discuss with you:

  • What is important to you and what support would help make a positive difference?
  • How much do your support needs impact on your life?
  • What support do you already have and what could the council do to assist?
  • What is the best way to help you achieve your outcomes?

Outcomes are defined as what matter to people, as well as the end result or impact of activities.

Remember it’s important that your council take into account your preferences and those of your family – you should not be afraid to tell the worker what you think you need. The council have a duty to make sure that the assessment is completed together (in collaboration).

You may wish to write or illustrate what is important to you. For example write out a weekly timetable showing the times when you need support and describe what you need to live your life day to day. Or you might want to share your aspirations for living more independently by attending further education and getting a job.

Your worker is not obliged to accept this assessment. However, they do need to take your views into account when making their professional judgment.

If the council concludes that you need support, which they have a responsibility to meet, they will record this in a community care (or children’s) assessment. You should be given a copy of your assessment and have an opportunity to have any disagreements recorded in it.

If it is agreed that you need support you will be offered 4 different options as to how you would like your support delivered. The worker should discuss with you all the options and help you decide the pros and cons of each one to make sure you can make the right decision for you (informed choice).

Once everything is agreed, you should receive a copy of your care plan. This will identify how your agreed outcomes will be met and how your individual budget should be used. This may include a stated number of hours of care and support.

The council should agree with you how often they will review your support plan. It is important to review to make sure that the support is still working for you. You or the the council can request a review at any time if circumstances have changed and your support needs updated.

If you decide to choose Option 1 – A direct payment, it is likely you will need to identify a provider of care, usually an agency or personal assistant.

If deciding to employ a personal assistant you can seek help and practical assistance and advice from a Support Organisation. Your council will be able to signpost you to any local support organisations in your area.

Remember that you are not alone. If any aspect of managing your payment concerns you – please contact your local support organisation.