Personalisation in Social Work


Ali Gardner, Jonathan Parker & Greta Bradley

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    I would like to thank three people who shared their time, stories and kindness to make this book possible. These three people demonstrate the possibilities of personalisation and their determination is something to be admired. I would like to thank the two other contributors to this edition, David Gaylard, for his willingness to share and discuss the contents of this book at length, and Natalie Robinson, for being the kind of student that makes teaching so easy by nodding so enthusiastically from the back of a classroom and for her honest engagement in this process. I would also like to thank all my colleagues in the social work department at Manchester Metropolitan University for their support and encouragement.

    Thank you to Ken Stapleton, Karen Saville and Gavin Croft for sharing their abundance of knowledge and infectious enthusiasm and positivity towards personalisation even at times when the cards are stacked against them.

    Finally I would like to thank my family, Des, Dad and Sue, for their patience and proofreading, and last, but not least, my two special stars Grace and Hope for allowing me to use the computer from time to time, making me cups of tea and keeping me topped up with cuddles.

    David Gaylard would like to thank Paul Tavender, senior social work practitioner, Hampshire County Council, and Viv Killner, senior social work practitioner, West Sussex County Council.

    About the Author and Contributors

    Ali Gardner is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Manchester Metropolitan University where she teaches on a number of modules including law and social work, working with disabled people and personalisation. Ali has worked as a social worker and policy officer in the field of adult social care. She has been involved in the national development of policy and practice relating to personalisation, working alongside Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE), Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) and Skills for Care (SfC) and has written the personalisation curriculum guide for the College of Social Work.

    David Gaylard has been Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Chichester since 2006. Prior to his current post he was a team manager in one of the personalisation pilot sites and has worked in a range of statutory adult social work departments in Hertfordshire, the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Kensington and Chelsea, in West Sussex and in Portsmouth. During this period he also qualified as an Approved Social Worker and Practice Teacher. David has trained and worked in the NHS as a registered general nurse at St George's Hospital, London. His research interests include mental ill health, adult safeguarding and diversity in practice. David is currently undertaking a doctorate in social work at the University of Sussex, examining personalisation under austerity.

    Natalie Robinson is a newly qualified social worker who studied her undergraduate degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Natalie's interest in personalisation came from years of working in various different support worker roles supporting children, young people and adults with learning disabilities. Natalie's passion for personalisation was ignited when she undertook the elective in her final year of study. It also came from her keen interest of the historical context of how people with disabilities have been treated by society over the decades. Since qualifying Natalie has kept herself updated with the personalisation agenda. Natalie has worked as an onsite supervisor mentoring new social work students and in the future she hopes to undertake the practice educator training. Natalie's dream is to one day set up her own social enterprise that is purely based upon personalisation principles.


    This book is written primarily for social work students to improve their understanding of the personalisation agenda. It will support students in developing their practice in a way that embeds the ideologies, values, principles, theories, policies and processes informing this agenda. A central focus to this book is a belief that personalisation is about thinking and doing. The reader will be continually encouraged to consider their own underlying assumptions and values in relation to notions of social care and welfare. In addition to highlighting several success stories through service user narrative, the book will explore some of the challenges and dilemmas social workers are likely to encounter in supporting service users to direct their own support. This fundamental understanding and critical reflection will enable the reader to develop congruence between values and social work practice at all times.

    It is fundamentally important that practitioners understand why and how this working context has emerged. The book provides a brief historical sweep of welfare in Britain leading up to the government's commitment to this agenda in the form of the Putting people first concordat (HM Government, 2007). The reader will be encouraged to critically analyse and evaluate how changing policies and practices are likely to impact on their own role as practitioners as the personalisation agenda unfolds.

    The book will support qualifying students to make the transition from theory to practice. A new chapter (7), specifically focuses on the new Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF), supporting students in their transition from academia to practice within a personalisation context. The chapter examines the shift away from the social work role being described as one of ‘manager’ to that of an ‘enabler’ within the self-directed support model. The book, however, will support the reader to see that values, theories and methods underpinning the personalisation agenda are very familiar to social work. Good practice has always involved putting the individual first, and values such as respect and self-determination have also been adopted as key philosophies for social workers (BASW, 2002). Building on this assumption, the text will support students in considering how to demonstrate their professional capability while on placement by mapping it to the PCF. In this way the book will also be useful to practice educators supporting students working in environments where personalisation and self-directed support are central to their work.

    The book may also support qualified practitioners and those engaging in Continued Professional Development (CPD) activities, working in new personalised environments, to reflect critically on their own practice. Several of the activities provided encourage the reader to return to the fundamental values of social work. In this sense the book provides opportunities for qualified social workers to consider the extent to which their own practice and values have been shaped by traditional models of social care and welfare. Chapters 2 and 3 offer an opportunity to reflect on the transition from care management to self-directed support and explore the subtle, yet significant, ideological differences in these two approaches.

    The book can be used at many different levels. First, it can be used to simply understand how and why the personalisation agenda emerged. It can also be used to learn or familiarise oneself with new ways of working by reflecting on examples of existing practice and developments. Finally, the book can also be used to encourage students and practitioners to engage with more radical forms of learning by challenging practice at a more fundamental level and addressing issues within an anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive framework of practice.

    Book Structure
    Chapter 1: Personalisation – where did it Come from?

    The first chapter traces the influences leading to the emergence of the current agenda. This includes an analytical examination of the history of social welfare. The chapter reflects on the impact of the user-led movements and its influence in relation to emerging legislation and policy relating to self-directed support. By the end of this chapter you will have a clearer understanding of the policy and service delivery context within which personalisation now exists.

    Chapter 2: Personalisation – a value Base for Practice

    The focus of this chapter is to develop congruence between social work values and social work practice. The chapter considers concepts of paternalism versus citizenship and the deserving versus the undeserving in relation to models of social welfare, and how anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive models of practice can be developed within a personalisation context. Finally, the chapter poses the question: is personalisation a new paradigm or simply a repackaged model of social welfare?

    Chapter 3: Personalisation in Practice

    This chapter critically examines the current context of personalisation in practice. It focuses on changing ideology and models of support from the traditional care management model to the self-directed model of support. Focusing on the role and challenges faced by social workers practising in the current climate of shrinking resources, the chapter explores the key stages of self-assessment, supporting planning and review.

    Chapter 4: Service User Groups and Personalisation

    In this chapter we consider current practice and developments within different service user groups. This will focus on the 2013 Personal Budgets Outcomes and Evaluation Tool (POET) survey. In addition the chapter explores some of the opportunities and challenges presented within the emerging areas of development in relation to the personalisation agenda. These include:

    • health
    • housing and homelessness
    • the criminal justice system
    • disabled children.
    Chapter 5: Service User Narrative

    This chapter provides an opportunity to learn from three individuals who have used personal and individual budgets. The aim of the chapter is to reflect on their individual and collective experiences. The purpose of using the three individual accounts is to provide some insight into the diverse ways individuals have designed and managed their support. Activities are used to support students to reflect on both the diverse and common experiences of individuals. The chapter encourages the reader to think about the social work role in supporting people to use their own expertise to control and direct their support.

    Chapter 6: Safeguarding and Personalisation

    The chapter addresses some of the key tensions that exist for service users, practitioners, managers and the government in promoting choice and control while reducing risk and harm. The chapter explores both the ideological and the practical debates surrounding the safeguarding agenda. Case examples and activities are used to aid debate, learning and challenge in relation to this discourse. The chapter reflects on emerging research in relation to safeguarding and personalisation and encourage the reader to evaluate findings critically.

    Chapter 7: Preparing for Practice and the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF)

    This chapter focuses on supporting students, academics and practice educators to understand personalisation within the context of the recently developed Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). The introduction of a mapping tool will enable students to identify and demonstrate evidence that will contribute towards their progression from the level of entry through to the qualification and beyond.

    Chapter 8: Personalisation – a Newly Qualified Perspective

    This chapter is from the perspective of a newly qualified practitioner who provides a narrative account of her journey from student to practitioner. Reflecting on the personal and professional challenges she has encountered, she aims to provide an understanding of what social work means to her within the context of personalisation.

    Learning Features

    As with other books in this series, case examples, activities, reflection points, research summaries and signposting to additional reading will be used to aid the learning process. The book is intended to be interactive. An understanding of personalisation requires a commitment to engaging with the values, theories, ideologies and histories that have influenced its development. As a student and a practitioner it is important that you are able and willing to reflect on your own thoughts, experiences and practices in a critical way (Jones, 2009; Quinney, 2006), but, more importantly, that you are willing to change fundamental assumptions, perceptions or beliefs and ultimately practice, as a result of that reflection.

  • Conclusion

    At the time of writing this second edition, personalisation as a concept has emerged as a central feature in government policy relating to the public sector and in particular social care. The Coalition government clearly views personalisation as central to the delivery of social care support in the twenty-first century, drawing parallels with their vision of a Big Society and notions of choice, control and consumerism. An appetite for personalisation continues to grow but so too does ambivalence by many who are suspicious of the current enthusiasm expressed by a government responsible for reducing social care budgets and raising thresholds of eligibility. The political context of personalisation has been developed as a common thread throughout the book, recognising and analysing the way in which concepts of welfare have emerged and developed. The text has highlighted the significance of service user voice and its powerful influence in the development of self-directed support.

    It is hoped that the reader has begun to understand the legislative, policy and practice models that have been developed for different service user groups and their carers in relation to self-directed support. The book has explored the subtle, yet significant, differences between care management and self-directed support using service user narrative to demonstrate some of the key themes and outcomes of this way of working. In addition, the inclusion of narrative has challenged the reader to consider broader issues of discrimination and empowerment that underpin one's understanding of personalisation.

    Principally, personalisation is based on the person controlling and directing the support in a way that they believe will meet their needs. The book has considered how one of the key tensions surrounding choice and risk can be addressed within this framework. Drawing on research, practice experience and student activities, the book has attempted to provide a balanced picture of these contentious issues. Mindful of the polarisation of this debate, the book has considered some of the possible consequences for the social work role in the future.

    While the book encourages students to adopt an evidence-based approach to their practice, it also recognises that many questions and uncertainties remain in relation to the implementation of personalisation. The future of adult social care is set to change dramatically and there are huge question marks in relation to the shape and function of the social work role. Qualifying students need to recognise the challenging contexts within which they will work. They also need to consider how they will adopt a questioning approach towards the way structures, organisations and practitioners adapt and respond to changing agendas, tasks and roles.

    Fundamentally, the book has attempted to reinforce the need to bring together social work values and emerging practice by encouraging the reader to develop a radical engagement with key concepts and practical, effective solutions. In this way it provides an opportunity to embrace personalisation as more than a repackaged way of working but rather as a new paradigm of good practice.

    Appendix 1: Professional Capabilities Framework

    Appendix 2: Subject Benchmark for Social Work

    Defining Principles

    4.1 As an applied academic subject, social work is characterised by a distinctive focus on practice in complex social situations to promote and protect individual and collective well-being. This underscores the importance of partnerships between HEIs and service providers to ensure the full involvement of practitioners, managers, tutors, service users and carers with students in both academic and practice learning and assessment.

    4.2 At honours level, the study of social work involves the integrated study of subject-specific knowledge, skills and values and the critical application of research knowledge from the social and human sciences, and from social work (and closely related domains) to inform understanding and to underpin action, reflection and evaluation. Honours degree programmes should be designed to help foster this integration of contextual, analytic, critical, explanatory and practical understanding.

    4.3 Contemporary definitions of social work as a degree subject reflect its origins in a range of different academic and practice traditions. The precise nature and scope of the subject is itself a matter for legitimate study and critical debate. Three main issues are relevant to this.

    • Social work is located within different social welfare contexts. Within the UK there are different traditions of social welfare (influenced by legislation, historical development and social attitudes) and these have shaped both social work education and practice in community-based settings including residential, day care and substitute care. In an international context, distinctive national approaches to social welfare policy, provision and practice have greatly influenced the focus and content of social work degree programmes.
    • There are competing views in society at large on the nature of social work and on its place and purpose. Social work practice and education inevitably reflect these differing perspectives on the role of social work in relation to social justice, social care and social order.
    • Social work, both as occupational practice and as an academic subject, evolves, adapts and changes in response to the social, political and economic challenges and demands of contemporary social welfare policy, practice and legislation.

    4.4 Honours graduates in social work should therefore be equipped both to understand, and to work within, this context of contested debate about nature, scope and purpose, and be enabled to analyse, adapt to, manage and eventually to lead the processes of change.

    4.5 The applied nature of social work as an academic subject means that practice is an essential and core element of learning. The following points clarify the use of the term ‘practice’ in the statement.

    • The term ‘practice’ in this statement is used to encompass learning that takes place not only in professional practice placements, but also in a variety of other experiential learning situations. All learning opportunities that bear academic credit must be subject to methods of assessment appropriate to their academic level and be assessed by competent assessors. Where they form part of the curriculum leading to integrated academic and professional awards, practice learning opportunities will also be subject to regulations that further define learning requirements, standards and modes of assessment.
    • In honours degree programmes covered by this statement, practice as an activity refers to experiential, action-based learning. In this sense, practice provides opportunities for students to improve and demonstrate their understanding and competence through the application and testing of knowledge and skills.
    • Practice activity is also a source of transferable learning in its own right. Such learning can transfer both from a practice setting to the ‘classroom’ and vice versa. Thus practice can be as much a source of intellectual and cognitive learning as other modes of study. For this reason, learning through practice attracts full academic credit.
    • Learning in practice can include activities such as observation, shadowing, analysis and research, as well as intervention within social work and related organisations. Practice-learning on honours degrees involves active engagement with service users and others in practice settings outside the university, and may involve, for example, virtual/simulated practice, observational and research activities.

    4.6 Social work is a moral activity that requires practitioners to recognise the dignity of the individual, but also to make and implement difficult decisions (including restriction of liberty) in human situations that involve the potential for benefit or harm. Honours degree programmes in social work therefore involve the study, application of, and critical reflection upon, ethical principles and dilemmas. As reflected by the four care councils’ codes of practice, this involves showing respect for persons, honouring the diverse and distinctive organisations and communities that make up contemporary society, promoting social justice and combating processes that lead to discrimination, marginalisation and social exclusion. This means that honours undergraduates must learn to:

    • recognise and work with the powerful links between intrapersonal and interpersonal factors and the wider social, legal, economic, political and cultural context of people's lives;
    • understand the impact of injustice, social inequalities and oppressive social relations;
    • challenge constructively individual, institutional and structural discrimination;
    • practise in ways that maximise safety and effectiveness in situations of uncertainty and incomplete information
    • help people to gain, regain or maintain control of their own affairs, insofar as this is compatible with their own or others’ safety, well-being and rights;
    • work in partnership with service users and carers and other professionals to foster dignity, choice and independence, and effect change.

    4.7 The expectation that social workers will be able to act effectively in such complex circumstances requires that honours degree programmes in social work should be designed to help students learn to become accountable, reflective, critical and evaluative. This involves learning to:

    • think critically about the complex social, legal, economic, political and cultural contexts in which social work practice is located;
    • work in a transparent and responsible way, balancing autonomy with complex, multiple and sometimes contradictory accountabilities (for example, to different service users, employing agencies, professional bodies and the wider society);
    • exercise authority within complex frameworks of accountability and ethical and legal boundaries;
    • acquire and apply the habits of critical reflection, self-evaluation and consultation, and make appropriate use of research in decision-making about practice and in the evaluation of outcomes.
    Subject Knowledge, Understanding and Skills
    Subject Knowledge and Understanding

    5.1 During their degree studies in social work, honours graduates should acquire, critically evaluate, apply and integrate knowledge and understanding in the following five core areas of study.

    5.1.1 Social Work Services, Service Users and Carers, which Include
    • the social processes (associated with, for example, poverty, migration, unemployment, poor health, disablement, lack of education and other sources of disadvantage) that lead to marginalisation, isolation and exclusion, and their impact on the demand for social work services;
    • explanations of the links between definitional processes contributing to social differences (for example, social class, gender, ethnic differences, age, sexuality and religious belief) to the problems of inequality and differential need faced by service users;
    • the nature of social work services in a diverse society (with particular reference to concepts such as prejudice, interpersonal, institutional and structural discrimination, empowerment and anti-discriminatory practices);
    • the nature and validity of different definitions of, and explanations for, the characteristics and circumstances of service users and the services required by them, drawing on knowledge from research, practice experience, and from service users and carers;
    • the focus on outcomes, such as promoting the well-being of young people and their families, and promoting dignity, choice and independence for adults receiving services;
    • the relationship between agency policies, legal requirements and professional boundaries in shaping the nature of services provided in interdisciplinary contexts and the issues associated with working across professional boundaries and within different disciplinary groups.
    5.1.2 The Service Delivery Context, which Includes
    • the location of contemporary social work within historical, comparative and global perspectives, including European and international contexts;
    • the changing demography and cultures of communities in which social workers will be practising;
    • the complex relationships between public, social and political philosophies, policies and priorities and the organisation and practice of social work, including the contested nature of these;
    • the issues and trends in modern public and social policy and their relationship to contemporary practice and service delivery in social work;
    • the significance of legislative and legal frameworks and service delivery standards (including the nature of legal authority, the application of legislation in practice, statutory accountability and tensions between statute, policy and practice);
    • the current range and appropriateness of statutory, voluntary and private agencies providing community-based, day-care, residential and other services and the organisational systems inherent within these;
    • the significance of inter-relationships with other related services, including housing, health, income maintenance and criminal justice (where not an integral social service);
    • the contribution of different approaches to management, leadership and quality in public and independent human services;
    • the development of personalised services, individual budgets and direct payments;
    • the implications of modern information and communications technology (ICT) for both the provision and receipt of services.
    5.1.3 Values and Ethics, which Include
    • the nature, historical evolution and application of social work values;
    • the moral concepts of rights, responsibility, freedom, authority and power inherent in the practice of social workers as moral and statutory agents;
    • the complex relationships between justice, care and control in social welfare and the practical and ethical implications of these, including roles as statutory agents and in upholding the law in respect of discrimination;
    • aspects of philosophical ethics relevant to the understanding and resolution of value dilemmas and conflicts in both interpersonal and professional contexts;
    • the conceptual links between codes defining ethical practice, the regulation of professional conduct and the management of potential conflicts generated by the codes held by different professional groups.
    5.1.4 Social Work Theory, which Includes
    • research-based concepts and critical explanations from social work theory and other disciplines that contribute to the knowledge base of social work, including their distinctive epistemological status and application to practice;
    • the relevance of sociological perspectives to understanding societal and structural influences on human behaviour at individual, group and community levels;
    • the relevance of psychological, physical and physiological perspectives to understanding personal and social development and functioning;
    • social science theories explaining group and organisational behaviour, adaptation and change;
    • models and methods of assessment, including factors underpinning the selection and testing of relevant information, the nature of professional judgement and the processes of risk assessment and decision-making
    • approaches and methods of intervention in a range of settings, including factors guiding the choice and evaluation of these;
    • user-led perspectives;
    • knowledge and critical appraisal of relevant social research and evaluation methodologies, and the evidence base for social work.
    5.1.5 The Nature of Social Work Practice, which Includes
    • the characteristics of practice in a range of community-based and organisational settings within statutory, voluntary and private sectors, and the factors influencing changes and developments in practice within these contexts;
    • the nature and characteristics of skills associated with effective practice, both direct and indirect, with a range of service users and in a variety of settings;
    • the processes that facilitate and support service user choice and independence;
    • the factors and processes that facilitate effective interdisciplinary, interprofessional and inter-agency collaboration and partnership;
    • the place of theoretical perspectives and evidence from international research in assessment and decision-making processes in social work practice;
    • the integration of theoretical perspectives and evidence from international research into the design and implementation of effective social work intervention, with a wide range of service users, carers and others;
    • the processes of reflection and evaluation, including familiarity with the range of approaches for evaluating service and welfare outcomes, and their significance for the development of practice and the practitioner.
    Subject-specific Skills and other Skills

    5.2 As an applied subject at honours degree level, social work necessarily involves the development of skills that may be of value in many situations (for example, analytical thinking, building relationships, working as a member of an organisation, intervention, evaluation and reflection). Some of these skills are specific to social work but many are also widely transferable. What helps to define the specific nature of these skills in a social work context are:

    • the context in which they are applied and assessed (e.g. communication skills in practice with people with sensory impairments or assessment skills in an interprofessional setting);
    • the relative weighting given to such skills within social work practice (e.g. the central importance of problem-solving skills within complex human situations);
    • the specific purpose of skill development (e.g the acquisition of research skills in order to build a repertoire of research-based practice);
    • a requirement to integrate a range of skills (i.e. not simply to demonstrate these in an isolated and incremental manner).

    5.3 All social work honours graduates should show the ability to reflect on and learn from the exercise of their skills. They should understand the significance of the concepts of continuing professional development and lifelong learning, and accept responsibility for their own continuing development.

    5.4 Social work honours graduates should acquire and integrate skills in the following five core areas.

    Problem-solving Skills

    5.5 These are subdivided into four areas.

    5.5.1 Managing Problem-solving Activities

    honours graduates in social work should be able to plan problem-solving activities, i.e. to:

    • think logically, systematically, critically and reflectively;
    • apply ethical principles and practices critically in planning problem-solving activities;
    • plan a sequence of actions to achieve specified objectives, making use of research, theory and other forms of evidence;
    • manage processes of change, drawing on research, theory and other forms of evidence.
    5.5.2 Gathering Information

    honours graduates in social work should be able to:

    • gather information from a wide range of sources and by a variety of methods, for a range of purposes. These methods should include electronic searches, reviews of relevant literature, policy and procedures, face-to-face interviews, written and telephone contact with individuals and groups;
    • take into account differences of viewpoint in gathering information and critically assess the reliability and relevance of the information gathered;
    • assimilate and disseminate relevant information in reports and case records.
    5.5.3 Analysis and Synthesis

    honours graduates in social work should be able to analyse and synthesise knowledge gathered for problem-solving purposes, i.e. to:

    • assess human situations, taking into account a variety of factors (including the views of participants, theoretical concepts, research evidence, legislation and organisational policies and procedures);
    • analyse information gathered, weighing competing evidence and modifying their viewpoint in light of new information, then relate this information to a particular task, situation or problem;
    • consider specific factors relevant to social work practice (such as risk, rights, cultural differences and linguistic sensitivities, responsibilities to protect vulnerable individuals and legal obligations);
    • assess the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, research, policies and procedures;
    • synthesise knowledge and sustain reasoned argument;
    • employ a critical understanding of human agency at the macro (societal), mezzo (organisational and community) and micro (inter and intrapersonal) levels;
    • critically analyse and take account of the impact of inequality and discrimination in work with people in particular contexts and problem situations.
    5.5.4 Intervention and Evaluation

    honours graduates in social work should be able to use their knowledge of a range of interventions and evaluation processes selectively to:

    • build and sustain purposeful relationships with people and organisations in community-based, and inter-professional contexts;
    • make decisions, set goals and construct specific plans to achieve these, taking into account relevant factors including ethical guidelines;
    • negotiate goals and plans with others, analysing and addressing in a creative manner human, organisational and structural impediments to change;
    • implement plans through a variety of systematic processes that include working in partnership;
    • undertake practice in a manner that promotes the well-being and protects the safety of all parties;
    • engage effectively in conflict resolution;
    • support service users to take decisions and access services, with the social worker as navigator, advocate and supporter;
    • manage the complex dynamics of dependency and, in some settings, provide direct care and personal support in everyday living situations;
    • meet deadlines and comply with external definitions of a task;
    • plan, implement and critically review processes and outcomes;
    • bring work to an effective conclusion, taking into account the implications for all involved;
    • monitor situations, review processes and evaluate outcomes;
    • use and evaluate methods of intervention critically and reflectively.
    Communication Skills

    5.6 Honours graduates in social work should be able to communicate clearly, accurately and precisely (in an appropriate medium) with individuals and groups in a range of formal and informal situations, i.e. to:

    • make effective contact with individuals and organisations for a range of objectives, by verbal, paper-based and electronic means;
    • clarify and negotiate the purpose of such contacts and the boundaries of their involvement;
    • listen actively to others, engage appropriately with the life experiences of service users, understand accurately their viewpoint and overcome personal prejudices to respond appropriately to a range of complex personal and interpersonal situations;
    • use both verbal and non-verbal cues to guide interpretation;
    • identify and use opportunities for purposeful and supportive communication with service users within their everyday living situations;
    • follow and develop an argument and evaluate the viewpoints of, and evidence presented by, others;
    • write accurately and clearly in styles adapted to the audience, purpose and context of the communication;
    • use advocacy skills to promote others’ rights, interests and needs;
    • present conclusions verbally and on paper, in a structured form, appropriate to the audience for which these have been prepared;
    • make effective preparation for, and lead meetings in a productive way;
    • communicate effectively across potential barriers resulting from differences (for example, in culture, language and age).
    Skills in Working with others

    5.7 Honours graduates in social work should be able to work effectively with others, i.e. to:

    • involve users of social work services in ways that increase their resources, capacity and power to influence factors affecting their lives;
    • consult actively with others, including service users and carers, who hold relevant information or expertise;
    • act co-operatively with others, liaising and negotiating across differences such as organisational and professional boundaries and differences of identity or language;
    • develop effective helping relationships and partnerships with other individuals, groups and organisations that facilitate change;
    • act with others to increase social justice by identifying and responding to prejudice, institutional discrimination and structural inequality;
    • act within a framework of multiple accountability (for example, to agencies, the public, service users, carers and others);
    • challenge others when necessary, in ways that are most likely to produce positive outcomes.
    Skills in Personal and Professional Development

    5.8 Honours graduates in social work should be able to:

    • advance their own learning and understanding with a degree of independence;
    • reflect on and modify their behaviour in the light of experience;
    • identify and keep under review their own personal and professional boundaries;
    • manage uncertainty, change and stress in work situations;
    • handle inter and intrapersonal conflict constructively;
    • understand and manage changing situations and respond in a flexible manner;
    • challenge unacceptable practices in a responsible manner;
    • take responsibility for their own further and continuing acquisition and use of knowledge and skills;
    • use research critically and effectively to sustain and develop their practice.



    This is a term used to describe a process whereby service users and the wider community are involved in designing services, support and solutions. The premise of co-production is that those using services are best placed to advise and design support. This process requires power being shared with service users to empower them to identify solutions. Co-production spans both local services/support to building social capital.

    Direct payment

    This is a cash payment given to service users in lieu of services. The important issue in relation to personalisation is that direct payments legislation has made it permissible for local authorities to give service users money. Basically it is the mechanism required for transferring the money from the local authority to the service user.

    Independent living movement

    This represents a worldwide movement of disabled people who proclaim to work for self-determinism, self-respect and equal opportunities. The movement emerged in the early 1970s with the development of Independent Centres for Independence. Advocates promote a way of looking at disability and society which promotes the social model of disability and believes that preconceived notions and a predominantly medical view of disability contribute to negative attitudes towards disabled people.

    Independent living

    This is one of the goals of personalisation. It does not necessarily mean living on your own or doing things alone but focuses on people having a choice and control over the assistance and or equipment needed to go about their daily life.

    Indicative budget/indicative allocation

    Once an assessment is complete, the local authority will use the resource allocation system to identify the level of financial support required. The service user is then informed of this amount of money. This knowledge helps the service user develop a support plan. Once the support plan has been agreed, the indicative budget will then become an actual budget and is given to the service user. It is called an indicative budget as the money cannot be transferred to the individual until the local authority is satisfied that the support plan will meet the needs identified in the assessment.

    Individual budget

    Individual budgets include the money from the local authority as described under Personal budget, but it also involves bringing together different funding streams besides social care. This might include all or some of the following: local authority adult social care; integrated community equipment services; Disabled Facilities Grants; Supporting People for housing-related support; Access to Work and Independent Living Fund. This money is pooled to allow the service user flexibility in meeting their needs. Service users may choose to receive it as cash or services or a mixture of both. The terms ‘personal budget’ and ‘individual budget’ are starting to be used interchangeably by some local authorities. This has caused confusion for service users and social workers alike but the notions of choice, control and flexibility underpin both definitions.

    Outcome-focused review

    The support plan will identify a number of outcomes that the service user wants to achieve and how support will be arranged to achieve these. The purpose of an outcome-focused review is to review progress in using the budget to achieve the outcomes set out in the support plan. During the review the support plan may also be updated and the council will check if the person is still eligible for social care.

    Personal budget

    This is the allocation of funding given to service users after an assessment. The service user can choose to take this money as a direct payment or can leave it with the local authority to commission the service or support. Either way it is important that the service user can choose how the money is spent. Importantly, service users know how much money has been allocated.

    See also Individual budget.


    This is the umbrella term used to encapsulate the government's agenda for the transformation of adult social care. The government use this term broadly to refer to individuals having as much choice and control in the way support is designed and delivered as possible and ensuring that universal and community support and services are available and accessible to everyone.

    Person-centred planning

    This focuses on supporting individuals to live as independently as possible, having choice and control wherever possible. Person-centred planning places the individual at the centre of the process and builds support, networks and services around them.

    Resource allocation system (RAS)

    This is a system used by most local authorities to work out the financial resources which will be allocated to the individual and takes place after the assessment.


    Service users are given the opportunity to assess their own needs. This usually involves completing a self-assessment questionnaire whereby the service user scores their needs against a set of domains.

    Self-directed support

    This idea forms the basis of personalisation. Service users are seen as the experts in their own lives. They are best placed to know what is best for them. No matter how service users choose to receive social care, the notion of self-determination should be fully embraced.

    Support brokerage

    This is a term used to describe a range of tasks and functions carried out by an individual or organisation to support a service user to design, arrange and manage their support.

    Support planning

    This is the process whereby service users can identify how they would like to live their life and choose the support or services that will help them make the changes. The support plan must identify how the budget will be spent, how it will meet the outcomes and how the person will stay in control of the plan.


    A trust can be a group of people made up of family and friends, chosen by the person receiving the budget. Individuals can also choose to employ a private or voluntary organisation that can look after the individual's budget on their behalf. An individual will usually have to make a payment to the organisation for this support.


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