Carers Information Pack


In the first instance this factsheet may only apply to the person that you care for, unless you as a carer also have additional health needs.

Personalisation means thinking about care and support services in an entirely different way. This involves focusing on the person as an individual with strengths, preferences and aspirations and putting them at the centre of the process of identifying their desired outcomes and making choices about how and when they are supported to achieve these outcomes.

The traditional service-led approach has often meant that people have not received the right help at the right time and have been unable to shape the kind of support they need. Personalisation is about giving people much more choice and control over their lives and goes beyond simply giving personal budgets to people eligible for council funding.

Personalisation means:

  • tailoring support to people’s individual needs
  • ensuring that people have access to information, advocacy and advice to make informed decisions about their care and support
  • recognising and supporting carers in their role, while enabling them to maintain a life beyond their caring responsibilities

Self-directed support involves finding out what is important to people with social care needs and their families and friends, and helping them to plan how to use the available money to achieve these desired outcomes.

What is a personal budget?

Personal budgets are an allocation of funding given to users after an assessment the allocation should be sufficient to cover their assessed needs.

As part of self-directed support, the personal budget holder is encouraged to devise a support plan to help them meet their personal outcomes. Assistance in developing this plan can come from care managers, social workers, independent brokerage agencies and family and friends.

Users can either take their personal budget as a direct payment, or, while still choosing how their care needs are met and by whom, leave councils with the responsibility to commission the services. Or a combination of the two.

Once a plan has been devised support can be purchased from:

  • statutory social services
  • the private sector
  • the voluntary or third sector
  • user-led organisations
  • community groups
  • neighbours, family and friends.

What is a support plan?

A support plan sets out in detail the ways in which you plan to use your resource allocation to meet your social care needs.

You can also include things in your plan that don’t cost money and/or things that you are planning to pay for yourself.

You can choose to complete your own support plan or you can get assistance with this from either the council or an independent support planner.

We can provide you with more information on the support planning options available to you and can answer any questions you might have about completing your support plan.

All support plans have to be agreed by the council to ensure that your chosen support arrangements:

  • Meet your eligible social care needs
  • Are within your Resource Allocation
  • Keep you safe and well

The cost of your agreed support is the amount of your Individual Budget. The Individual Budget represents the amount of money we believe you require to meet your eligible social care needs. If you do not agree with the amount of money allocated to you. Your first port of call should be to your social worker.

Will I have to contribute towards my Individual Budget?

Social care, unlike healthcare, is not free for everyone and this will not change under Personalisation. How much the council will pay towards your Individual Budget, and how much you will pay towards your Individual Budget will be decided after a financial assessment.

You will need to complete a financial circumstances form outlining your financial position so the social worker can calculate how much, if anything, you will have to pay towards your Individual Budget.

Some support provided to you at home will be exempt from a financial contribution for example:

  • Equipment and minor adaptations
  • Telecare
  • In-house homecare reablement services for a maximum of 6 weeks
  • Intermediate Care Services for a maximum of 6 weeks
  • After Care Services under Section 117 Mental Health Act 1982

How will I receive my Individual Budget?

Once your support plan and your Individual Budget have been agreed, you can choose to receive your Individual Budget in one of the following ways:

1. Cash Budget

You can receive the council’s contribution towards your Individual Budget as a cash payment if you want to arrange your services and handle the payments for these services yourself or through a representative. You will need to open a separate bank account so the money doesn’t get mixed up with your own.

2. Council Managed Budget

The council recognises that some individuals may prefer not to manage a cash budget, or may be unable to do so. You can choose for your Individual Budget to be held by the council who will manage the budget on your behalf.

This means that the council will plan, arrange and organise your support for you and make sure that it is paid for.

3. Mixed Budget

You can choose to receive some of your Individual Budget as a cash payment and for the council to hold some as a council-managed budget. This is a great way of trying out the cash budget option if you are unsure about managing your own support!

Who can have an Individual Budget?

If you are assessed as having eligible needs, you will be entitled to an Individual Budget.

If you are assessed as having low or moderate needs, you will not receive an Individual Budget, but Southwark Carers can provide you with information and advice about a range of community-based services. Many of these services are free of charge, but if there is a cost involved we will advise you of this, where possible.

How can the person I care for get assessed?

If the person you look after is already in receipt of a care package you will be contacted by your social worker to go through an assessment before preparing a support plan.

Initial contact will take place via a telephone call, or, if the peson you care for finds it difficult to use the telephone a social worker will arrange a home visit.

How are my needs reviewed?

After 6 weeks your support planner will give you a quick follow-up call to see how you are. Then, at the end of the year you will have a formal review to assess how your support plan is working for you.

If your needs have changed during this time, you may need a new assessment. If this is necessary your social worker will organise this with you.

You should be aware that your Individual Budget might increase or decrease depending on the outcome of your re-assessed needs.

You should contact the council or your social worker as soon as possible if your circumstances or needs change before the date of your next scheduled review.

If you choose to receive your Individual Budget as a cash budget, you will be asked to keep receipts to monitor how the money is being used.

Further Information


Southwark CCG 160 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TZ –  020 7525 0400

British Association of Social Workers The College of Social Work, 16 Kent Street, Birmingham B5 6RD – 0121 622 3911


For an easy read quick guide to personalisation please visit The Social Care Institute for Excellence website.

You can access examples of support plans, information and resources here

Think Local Act Personal Online resource detailing the Think Local, Act Personal agreement for transforming adult social care.



Find us

Southwark Carers
3rd Floor, Walworth Methodist Church,
54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EW
View map and directions

Contact us

020 7708 4497

Find us

Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).

Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle

Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45