After your assessment, if you have eligible care and support needs (as determined by the eligibility criteria), we will estimate how much money is required to meet your eligible needs. This is called an indicative personal budget.
This is our first estimate of what we think might be needed and it might not be the same as your final personal budget amount. This will help you to understand how much it may cost to meet your needs and to look at options available at that cost to include in your support plan.
Once you have an estimated budget, we will start developing your support plan with you. You can be creative and use sources of support that work for you. We will work with you to identify your support networks and explore all available options.
Support planning is about you saying what you want your care and support to look like, and how it could help make things better for you. When everyone is happy with the content of the plan, it will be written up for your agreement.
We can’t confirm your final personal budget until we have agreed a support plan and this might differ from the estimated budget. We need to see and agree a support plan before we can release any of your personal budget. It is important that you agree with your support plan. You and the person who cares for you are involved when the support plan is drawn up. If you don’t agree or aren’t happy with the contents of your plan, please speak to your social worker first or see our Contact Us page for further information.
If you would like to consider care and support providers locally, please see our Care options page.
What will my care and support plan cover?
Your support plan will cover:
- What is important to you
- How you would like your situation to change
- Your personal budget and how it will be used to meet your needs
- When and how you will get support, and any you’re getting already
- Whether you have a carer, who may have needs of their own
- How you will stay safe and manage any risks
- Any special needs you have, including any cultural or faith needs
- Plans for what will happen if things change or in an emergency
- When we will review your support
What is a personal budget?
Your personal budget is the total amount it might cost to meet your eligible care and support needs. The budget includes the amount you are assessed as able to contribute yourself. We will advise you of your indicative (or estimated) personal budget. This will help you to understand how much it may cost to meet your needs and to look at options available to include in your support plan.
Once we have agreed your eligible needs with you, we will agree the amount of money required to meet the needs identified within your support plan. We calculate this using our Personal Budget Matrix (PDF, 162KB) . The amount of money we identify is called a personal budget and it allows you to:
- choose and control the support that is best for you
- be fully involved in decisions about the help you need to live independently
- support yourself in ways that suit you
Your personal budget will be made up of money from us plus any contributions you have been assessed to pay following your financial assessment (Please see Paying for Your Care).
You must use this budget to buy the care and support you need, in one of the following ways:
- by receiving services commissioned or arranged by us (see our Micro-commissioning Policy (Word, 264KB) for more details on how services locally are commissioned)
- a direct payment – this means that you can buy your own care and support yourself using your personal budget. Money must be used to pay for the care outlined in your care and support plan but you can be flexible about where this comes from. Anyone over 18 can ask for a direct payment can nominate someone else to manage it on your behalf. For more information read our Direct Payment Policy (Word, 142KB)
- a managed account – your personal budget allocation is held by the Focus finance team, and they arrange the services agreed in your care and support plan on your behalf. This means if you need care and support at home, we will arrange the care services and pay them from your personal budget
How is my care, support and personal budget reviewed?
A review is a re-assessment of your support needs. It is an opportunity for you to discuss the care and support you get and to think about what is going well and what might need to change. We will normally review your needs:
- around six weeks after a new service starts (We call this a ‘light touch review’)
- at least every year
- if your care situation changes
You can request that we review your needs at any time if you feel that the support you have is not working, or if there is a change in your needs. You may have more, less or different needs than before.
We will contact you to arrange a suitable date and time and between us, we will decide whether the review can be over the telephone or by video call or by visiting you at home. We will ask you to think about who you else you want to invite, like family or friends involved in your care, or your advocate. During the review we will consider:
- Whether you are achieving the outcomes (goals) in your support plan.
- If your support needs have changed.
- If there are other, better ways of meeting the outcomes in your support plan – for example, using equipment instead of staff visiting you.
- Whether family, friends or neighbours are able to support you.
- Whether other services can support you or you have other suggestions.
- Whether any risks have changed.
After the review, we will update your support plan with you if anything is different. If your support is different, it can change how much you may need to contribute to the cost of your care.