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Progress on Personalised Support

Authors: Simon Duffy and Sam Sly

Despite all the talk about personalisation in the UK actual progress has been very slow. While several support organisations have been developing more flexible and creative forms of support these are not being promoted by commissioners or by Government. 

This report is the result of an international online survey. The survey demonstrates that:

  • Organisations offering personalised support can be found all around the world
  • A coherent pattern of personalised support is emerging from these developments
  • Current models of funding and thinking do not promote this way of working

The model of personalised support that emerges from this survey has 5 essential elements:

  1. Citizenship is the goal - People are supported to enjoy all their rights as full citizens, playing a full part in community life and developing to their utmost as a full human being
  2. Fully individualised - Service design, planning, housing, staffing and management are all organised around the needs and capabilities of the individual and their family
  3. Working in partnership - Professionals are respectful of the expertise of the person and their family and accountable to them for their work
  4. Committed and flexible - Professionals do not abandon people when times get tough, they stick with it and figure out the best solutions, changing things quickly to get it right
  5. Creative and resourceful - Support solutions are identified that build on the person’s real wealth and the resources of their community

This report is also the first major research report to be developed on behalf of the international cooperative Citizen Network. The network is now established in 10 countries with the purpose of advancing citizenship for all. The report demonstrates that many of the obstacles people face in trying to achieve citizenship could be overcome if:

  • We connected people and organisations more effectively
  • We were more willing to build on existing good practice
  • We were willing to provide information and practical assistance to each other

Importantly the report also provides some insight into the Transforming Care Programme whose aim is to end the use of institutional placements for people with complex needs or challenging behaviour. The report suggests that this programme has not gone far enough in encouraging personalised support solutions and is unlikely to achieve its ultimate goals unless it takes a very different approach to commissioning and organising personal assistance.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Progress on Personalised Support © Simon Duffy and Sam Sly 2017.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.


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