Your support, your way gives you more choice and control over how your social care is planned, organised and delivered.

It is for adults who have difficulty managing on their own because of disability, illness or problems linked to ageing. You are the best person to understand your own needs and how they can be met.

Your support, your way means you:

  • can tell us about your situation and what help you need;
  • know how much money we will give you to pay for your support;
  • can take control and look after this money yourself; and
  • can choose support that is best for you.

If you feel you need support, you can contact our customer services centre. Someone from the short-term assessment and reablement team (START) will talk to you to find out what your needs are. If you are eligible, they will offer you up to six weeks of support to help you remain as independent as possible, or to regain your independence and get back in control of your life after an accident or ill health.

If you need longer term support than START provides, we will assess your situation using a needs assessment questionnaire which looks at your social care needs in detail to give us the best idea about the options available to support you.

If you are eligible for support, we will work out your personal budget - the amount of money you will pay for that support.

You will then complete a support plan, in which you describe how you would like to spend the money to get the support you need. Your support plan needs to be agreed by your social care worker, who will make sure that the way you are planning to spend your personal budget meets your needs and is legal.

We will check with you regularly to see that you are happy with your support and whether your needs have changed.

Further reading

We have produced these leaflets which help explain the service.

Useful links

Contacting us

You can find out more by emailing selfdirectedsupport@northyorks.gov.uk or by calling 01609 780780.

A personal budget is the amount of money needed to pay for your support after your social care needs have been assessed.

The funds are given to you and you use them to pay for your own care services.

Personal budgets give you more flexibility, choice and control over your care. We estimate your personal budget using the information in your needs assessment and confirm the final amount with you when we agree the support you will receive. We tell you what your personal budget is so that you are in control and we will tell you how much we can contribute based on your financial circumstances because we make sure that you have enough money to get the support you need.

Who can have a personal budget?

We offer personal budgets to people who have approached us for the first time seeking social care support and, if appropriate, have been assessed as needing social care and support services, live at home, and have already received a service from the short term assessment and reablement team.

Organising your personal budget

You can choose to receive the money yourself as a direct payment, which means that you receive your personal budget straight into a separate bank account that you control. This means you can arrange your own support. If you choose to receive your personal budget this way, some restrictions apply to the use of the money.

You can also choose someone else to look after the money for you. This could be a friend or family member who receives and looks after the direct payment on your behalf, an independent broker, or and organisation which provides a lot of your support. Or, we can arrange and pay for your support on your behalf. This is called a council-managed budget.

If you want to, you can receive some of the money as a direct payment and have the rest looked after by someone else.

Using your personal budget

You have a lot of choice over what you can spend your personal budget on. Some examples are:

  • Employing a personal assistant to help you with things like getting dressed or going shopping. People employed in this way can be friends or family members, as long as they do not live with you. Skills for Care provide information about employing your own care and support staff;
  • Joining a local club or society to meet other people;
  • Paying expenses for unpaid helpers;
  • Paying holiday or other expenses for your carer, so they can have a break; or
  • Buying specialist equipment or renovations, such as a stair lift or raised toilet seat.

Limitations on personal budgets

There are some things you can't spend your personal budget on, such as health care, or residential care. Your social care worker will be able to explain this to you. Your social care worker must also agree to your support plan before you receive your personal budget.

A support plan shows how you will spend your personal budget to get the support you need.

It also shows how your support will be organised and what you want to achieve from receiving it. Your social care worker can help you create your plan and friends and family can help, too. It can be as detailed as you wish, from something short and simple to an in-depth document.

Your support plan should put you at the centre and talk about how you would like to be supported, when and by whom, and what is important to you - people, places and routines. You should also consider how you want to spend your personal budget.

However you put your plan together, it is important that you are involved as much as possible.

Once you have agreed your plan, you will begin to receive the help you need. Your social care worker will check regularly to make sure that you are happy with your support. This will include discussing any changes to your assessed needs. This may mean that your personal budget changes, too.

If you are receiving a direct payment your social care worker will also need to know how you are spending it. This means you will need to keep records of your spending.

Your support plan will be reviewed after six weeks, and, after that, they are usually reviewed yearly, but this can vary.

 You can download a support plan template here (pdf / 74 KB).

Skills for Care provide information about employing your own care and support staff.

As a carer, you could find yourself helping the person you care for plan their own support - you know that person well and know their preferences.

Helping to create a support plan

Your role is vital in achieving the goals set out in the support plan of the person you care for. Carers are often instrumental in putting support in place and ensuring the plan provides what is needed. If you are called on to help with the plan, you may find the practical help of a support broker invaluable. If you choose to use a specialist support broker you may have to pay. A broker can also be a family member, friend, a worker from a voluntary organisation or a social care assessor.

As part of the support plan, an action plan will also be created. This will outline who is going to do what and when, so your role as a carer and the roles of others are clear. You can get in touch with your social care worker at any time to discuss the support.

Support for carers

If you care for an adult, a carer's assessment can be done with the social care worker, who will ask you what kind of support the person you care for needs, whether you're able to give the support they need and what help might improve your situation. You can also talk to them about your own needs and concerns. See the carers section for more information.

Information about your support, your way for social care professionals.

Our your support, your way service comes from the government 'putting people first' initiative. This sets out the vision for the delivery of a personalised approach for adult social care and aims to provide people with more choice and control; better information and advice; early intervention and prevention; and greater independence.

See the links below for more information and resources to help social care professionals deliver successful your support, your way services.

Many people across North Yorkshire have found that your support, your way has improved the quality of their lives.

Three people share their experiences below and explain how they have benefited from using the service:

Andrew

Andrew is 36 and until recently he has always lived at home with his mother and father. He is a very talented artist who works in many different media including papier-mâché, pottery, photography and oil painting.

Andrew has Asperger's Syndrome and ME, he also has coeliac disease (he is gluten intolerant) and problems with his eyes and his bones, which means he needs to make many trips to different hospitals.

We assessed Andrew for your support, your way. As a result of the assessment he created his own support plan based on his assessed needs and now has a personal budget, which he has decided to take as a direct payment. This means that Andrew can choose the people he employs and do the things he wants which meet his social care needs.

Now he has moved into his own flat and is independent. He is supported by his family and by the National Autistic Society, who provide a number of different personal assistants. They go with Andrew to activities such as art exhibitions and pottery classes. He likes trips to the cinema too and is learning to bake gluten free bread and cakes.

Before your support, your way, the only service available to Andrew was a workshop for people with learning disabilities, but Andrew does not have a learning disability and he wants to meet people like himself. This will now be possible owing to the flexibility of the support he can get with his direct payments - he can choose how to use his time. As he gains confidence, the number of hours of support he needs is gradually reducing.

Eileen

Eileen grew up in Settle - she moved away when she married but she has returned to her roots and was an energetic member of the community for many years. Eileen has always kept busy: she painted; knitted, crocheted and embroidered; gardened; and was famous for organising local events.

Four years ago Eileen started to fall over and after tests she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND). When Eileen was assessed by a social care assessor, she decided to take her personal budget as direct payments rather than services. This gives her much more choice about the way she is supported to meet her social care needs.

This means she can choose to get support from the person she wants - in this case Maddy, who only lives a few doors away. They can be flexible in their arrangements, which is also good for Maddy as she can fit her work around her children's needs. She helps Eileen with dressing, chores and preparing meals.

Eileen keeps busy and as independent as possible. She doesn't just get support from Maddy. As well as being driven to her regular hospital visits by a friend, she has family visits; a weekly coffee morning where she catches up with her old friends; and she goes on the occasional trip organised by Age UK. She also gets support from the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Every day, with the help of Maddy and an outdoor walking frame, Eileen walks into town to do her shopping and it may be because of this exercise that she has been told she is not deteriorating as fast as expected, which has given her hope. "Look at Dr Stephen Hawking", she says.

Lisa

Lisa is a mother of two teenagers who has fibromyalgia. After endless trips to hospital and tests by different specialists she was told that there was no more that could be done to help her medically, apart from pain relief.

Lisa had to give up the job she loved as a teaching assistant and was concerned about being able to care for her children properly.

Lisa went to Whitby Disablement Action Group (DAG) who gave her advice and referred her to us. A social care co-ordinator assessed Lisa's needs using your support, your way and then together they drew up Lisa's support plan.

Lisa decided to take some of her personal budget as direct payments and this has been used to meet her social care needs for social activity. She now goes swimming and is going to go back to college to retrain for a job she can do with her condition.

Lisa has felt in control of the whole process, "I feel my opinion counts for everything". She has had some minor adaptations to her home to allow her to move around more freely and feels able to look after her children more effectively.

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