Beyond direct payments

Individual Service Funds

This guidance has been developed to make the case for new approaches to support people should a direct payment not be the preferred option. It challenges the view that support from micro-enterprises can only be purchased using a direct payment. It offers alternative options for consideration:

  • Micro-enterprises
  • Individual Service Funds
  • New models of commissioning

The guidance has been co-authored by Dr Simon Duffy, Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform and Angela Catley, Director of Operations and Communications at Community Catalysts. They conclude with a call to action.

“Personalisation began by focusing on the person and their right to take control. This idea was integrated into the hope that health and social care systems can return to an appreciation of the value of community and the need to see each other as active citizens, to ensure we can all live lives of equality and meaning.

"These powerful and inspiring ideas have however come into conflict with some brute realities; austerity has stripped resources away from health, and particularly from social care and it’s natural for people now to cling to the familiar; vested interests, established ways of working. Yet it is precisely in times like this that new thinking, a new level of courage is required.

"We need to make the jump to a different set of assumptions about what is possible and what is worth doing:

• expect local leadership to emerge and support micro-enterprise and other community initiatives as valid and powerful support options

• think of support providers as partners and give them the means to work flexibly and as part of the local community by using Individual Service Funds

• re-think the role of commissioning and, in particular, build an infrastructure that enables money and attention to move transparently to where it is most needed".