SCIE Report 36: Enabling risk, ensuring safety: Self-directed support and personal budgets

Practice

'Risk decision making is often complicated by the fact that the person or group taking the decision is not always the person or group affected by the risk.' (Neill, Allen, Woodhead et al 2009)

Overview of current practice

The traditional social care model has been identified as no longer being suitable for developing person-centred practice and supporting choice and control for people using services and their carers.

This model affects the way the local authority has understood its duty of care. Local authorities have assumed that they can best fulfill their duty of care for the wellbeing of those in need of social care by retaining direct control over the type and amount of care that each individual receives.

However, personalisation means rethinking and restructuring to recognise that the local authority can best fulfill its duty of care for the wellbeing of those in need of social care by doing everything it can to enable individuals to make free and informed choices about the social care services they want to access.

As the research evidence examined for this report suggests, a transformation of local authority culture and systems is needed to put people, rather than processes, first. Those involved with developing positive approaches to risk taking with people with learning disabilities have emphasised the need for person-centred thinking. This includes a move away from risk assessment being a 'tick box' exercise, as the person using services and those closest to them bring unique knowledge to the assessment of risk.

Traditional approaches to risk have meant that practitioners often focus on what might go wrong rather than positive outcomes from taking risks. This traditional risk management has been characterised by technical approaches which 'lose the person'. Under these approaches, the person using services is treated as an object to be assessed by the 'experts' rather than as an agent in their own lives, part of a family, community and society, with legal rights and choices.

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  • SCIE Report 36: Enabling risk, ensuring safety: Self-directed support and personal budgets