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What is Support Planning?

We know there are lots of confusing words, phrases and jargon around support planning. It can be quite overwhelming when trying to understand what everything means. In this area, we have simplified things for you; we have taken away the complex jargon and confusing statements. We have made it easier for everyone to understand.

What is a support plan?

A support plan is a record of how your care needs could be supported; it shows how you intend to spend your personal budget from your local council. It is a way of telling people how you want your social care needs to be met, how you are going to spend your personal budget and how you are going to be kept healthy, safe and well. It highlights what your support will be, who will provide it, how much it will cost and how you will manage it.

Your support plan will have to be approved before you receive your support. The signed support plan will detail the actual amount of money that has been agreed to meet your needs. It can be as long or short as you like - it just needs to give a picture of what you would like to happen to meet your needs. It is a confidential document, so it will only be seen by appropriate staff, you, and people you allow to read it. Support planning is the process you go through to develop your support plan.

What do all these support planning words mean?

Assessment of need

An assessment is a way of helping to look at your needs and involves you in working out how these can be met. It can be very simple and quick or take more time depending on your needs. The law requires the council to do this for anybody who has or appears to have support needs. In some circumstances an assessment is not necessary, for example if you only require advice and information. You can ask a relative, friend or advocate to attend the assessment with you.

Carer's assessment

Carers have a right to their own assessment which can be done separately from the assessment of the person they are caring for.

Financial assessment

As part of the assessment process you will go through a financial assessment (this does not happen within all areas, you will need to check with your council). The council will work out whether you will need to make a contribution to the cost of your support. You may be asked to make a contribution if you receive 'Independent Living Fund' money. If you speak to the Independent Living Fund they may be able to work out with your council that only one contribution will be necessary. A good financial assessment will also ensure you are getting all the benefits that you are entitled to but may not be aware of.

Resource Allocation System (sometimes called RAS)

This is how the council work out an open and transparent, fair and equitable way of giving someone a personal budget. Many councils are still testing out the best way to do this, so there are variations across the country. The intention of creating a resource allocation system is to give people an indication of how much money they can have in relation to their needs. In the old system there was not a fair and equitable way of doing this, meaning that often 'them that shout the loudest get the most'.

The resource allocation system may also indicate if you may be entitled to any other funding, like an Independent Living Fund, Supporting People Money, Access to Work etc...

Self Rating Questionnaire

This can be called a variety of different things depending on where you live. In short, it is a simple questionnaire process that is designed to give people an indication of how much money they are entitled to, which makes up their personal budget. You answer a series of questions and score points for each answer given. Each point is worth so many British pounds and so the points are multiplied by the pounds to give you the indicative amount.

Indicative amount of money

This is an indication of the amount of money offered in a personal budget that you can start to plan with. In some cases you will need less money and in some cases you may need more, however the detail of how you will spend the money will need to be given in your support plan. The council will want to see that the way you spend your money will keep you healthy, safe and well.

Personal Budget

This is the money which comes from the adult social care department in lieu of services.

Individual Budget

This is when the budget is made up of more than one source of funding, for example money from social care and an Independent Living Fund and/or Access to Work and/or Supporting People etc...

Direct Payment

This is the legal framework in which a cash payment can be made to you. This is NOT the only way you can take a personal budget.

Self - Directed Support

This is choosing what suits you best every step of the way by self directing your own support. This includes choosing who you plan with, how to manage your money and how you will be supported.

Eligibility Criteria

This is the way the council decides if you meet their criteria for support. For example, in terms of adult social care, in many council areas they will ask you if you meet their Fair Access to Care Services (sometimes called FACS). The FACS' criteria is under four levels:

  1. Critical
  2. Substantial
  3. Moderate
  4. Low

Check out your council website to see the description of their FACS criteria and which elements of FACS apply in that area. In most councils they provide for people with Critical and Substantial needs.

Support plan

A support plan is done in a person centred way and helps to gather information about how you want to spend your personal budget to live the life that you want. You can do your plan yourself or you can get help to do your support plan from:

  1. Family and friends
  2. Peer support - other people who are in a similar situation to you but have already done their plan
  3. A local community organisation
  4. A provider organisation you are familiar with
  5. Your care manager, social worker or someone else from the council who offers to help you
  6. An independent broker

Once completed, the support plan will be an open document and will need to be shared with the council, usually via your social worker or care manager. Sometimes they may come back to you for more information, other times they may just approve your plan. The best way to know the process is to ask, look on your council's website or ask for some information which explains the process. There are certain things that need to be in a support plan and your council will give you this information.

These will be things like:

  1. Who are you and what is important to you?
  2. What are your plans for the future? What do you want to change or achieve?
  3. How will you stay healthy, safe and well?
  4. How are you going to organise and arrange the help and support you need?
  5. How will you stay in control of your life?
  6. How will you manage your support?
  7. What will your support cost?
  8. What are you going to do to make this plan happen?

Care plan

A care plan is the traditional way a care manager would have given you the details about the services that were arranged for you, it was usually a brief document and would include the name of your care manager and a date to review how the care plan was working.

Person centred plan

A person centred plan is much more familiar to people with learning disabilities. It is a plan used to enable people to think about the future and how they are going to achieve their goals. There are many tools you can use to help develop your person centred plan such as PATH, MAP, Essential Lifestyle Plan etc... Your person centred plan will still be very useful even if you have a support plan, as it will be a really good tool for your support staff to use. A person centred plan is a plan which is private and can only be shared with your permission.