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


'The goal is to get the balance right, moving away from being risk averse while still having appropriate regard for safeguarding issues.' (IBSEN study, 2008)


This report looks at some of the research and emerging principles and practice about risk enablement in the self-directed support and personal budget process. It also recognises the context of adult safeguarding.

The report includes an overview of findings from some recent UK and international evidence relating to risk enablement and safeguarding in the context of self-directed support and personal budgets.

The aim is to build an evidence base drawn from both research and practice to indicate what could work to promote independence and control whilst ensuring safety. The aim is also to explore what research is beginning to say about overcoming some of the barriers to implementation and how people and organisations are beginning to approach the task in practice.

Please note that:

  • this report does not explore wider concerns associated with personalisation such as the social care market and support infrastructure, supply and demand issues, regulation and concerns about personal assistants
  • this report does not constitute guidance or advice on safeguarding issues but is intended to provide an outline of – and signpost to – some of the key research and emerging documented practice for all those interested in the growing knowledge about risk enablement, safeguarding and frontline practice in the context of personalisation
  • the findings and practice points presented here are not comprehensive or conclusive, but give an indication of new and potentially efficient and effective ways of working that are person-centred and consistent with the principles of personalisation.

Further reading


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