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

About this report


Sarah Carr, Senior Research Analyst, Social Care Institute for Excellence.

About the development of this report


The IBSEN study and the subsequent government response, SCIE RB20 (on personal budget schemes), and the Partners' Council showed that risk management within personal budgets (which allow service users to commission their own care) was a key area to explore and evidence. Users told us that the risk averse culture in social care services could be used to restrict their choices.

Scoping and searching

Scoping and searching took place in June 2008, and was updated in March-June 2009, following a pause to allow the imminent publication of key material (including IBSEN study and the government response). Policy papers were included.

Research briefing methodology

SCIE research briefing methodology was followed throughout (inclusion criteria; material not comprehensively quality assured; evidence synthesised and key messages formulated by author): but this was published as a report purely because it exceeded the allowable length of a research briefing.

Stakeholder involvement

Author is a topic expert. Project drew on Partners' Council consultation (day's conference). Project was overseen by Personalisation Project Advisory Group (including people who use services and carers).

Peer review and testing

The Personalisation Project Advisory Group (including users and carers) steered production and peer reviewed product and key messages, as did safeguarding and self-directed support experts.


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