SCIE media releases 2010

Taking positive risks: Self-directed support and personal budgets

3 November 2010

A report launched today looks at how people who have self-directed support and personal budgets* can make decisions over their care and support. It looks at managing risks safety, presenting recent international research findings and examples of emerging practice in enabling people to take positive risks.

Enabling risk, ensuring safety: self-directed support and personal budgets is being launched today at the National Children and Adult Services conference (NCAS) in Manchester. It’s the first research-based publication on the issue, authored by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. It promotes independence, choice and control for the people using services. Along with the report, there will be a summary At a glance briefing and a digital version on SCIE’s website.

David Walden, Director of Adult Services at SCIE, explains:

Giving people who use services choice and control over the care they receive is very important if personalisation is to become a reality. However, there also must be support for family carers, social workers and other care staff so they feel comfortable enabling people to take risks. This new SCIE report on enabling risks brings together the current state of new research and practice in this area, so that the right support can be provided.

The key messages from the briefing include:

Case study

Andy lives with his family in Cumbria. He has Autism and a learning disability. After leaving college, Andy was offered a place at a day centre for adults with learning disabilities, but he knew he could do much more and a job working with cars. Andy found a course but people around Andy were worried that Andy would be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation and that he might not cope with the course, managing money, meals and day-to day-life. Andy got a personal budget and wrote a support plan, which made it clear that the course was so important that the risks were worth it.

However, during his first months at college, Andy lost several hundred pounds, and his PSP games console. He thought these were ‘loans’ to people he could trust. He got support to speak to the police and his supporters helped him to learn from this experience so he wouldn’t be exploited again. Andy successfully finished his course and now has a part-time job working voluntarily at Halfords and a paid part-time job as a project coordinator for People First Cumbria.

Andy says if he had been completely protected from risk, he would never have learned about trust and gained the confidence to deal with people trying to take advantage. People learn by making mistakes. I needed to make mistakes too so I could learn.

From In Control Fact sheet 16: Managing risks and safeguarding


Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: