The move towards Personalisation of services and Self-Directed Support, although a positive step in improving choice and control for service users, does not replace, or reduce the local authority’s duty of care towards the people it serves.
Currently, there is no evidence that the increasing number of service users choosing to have the support they need provided through SDS has led to a disproportionate increase in safeguarding referrals.
What it can mean, particularly for people choosing to receive Direct Payments, is that there may not be the same safeguards in place of checking and monitoring mechanisms such as those in current contracting arrangements within local authorities. Therefore robust risk assessments need to be undertaken by assessing workers.
Wherever possible service users and their carers, where appropriate, should be involved in identifying risks to themselves, and potential risk management strategies (see Independence, Choice and Risk: A guide to best practice in supported decision making ,DoH 2007).
Workers should ensure that the service user is aware of 3rd party support available for Direct Payments, which can be an additional monitoring mechanism in identifying any risks.
Service users should also be aware that often the Local Authority with pay for CRB checks on prospective employee where a service user wishes to use a PA.