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Do's and Don'ts for a New Script

Authors: Simon Duffy and Kate Fulton

This paper is a working document to help authorities ‘rescript’ their social work role - to make it more positive, enabling and effective. A full description of the ideas behind the rescript can be found in New Script for Care Managers (Duffy, 2010) and Architecture for Personalisation (Duffy and Fulton, 2010).

We are currently working with York, North East Lincolnshire & Blackburn with Darwen to help them test these ideas in practice. This paper reflects early discussions and highlights key points.

The New Script

The New Script is a way of clarifying the process by which care managers - usually social workers - work with people to develop good support solutions. The key parts are reflected in this diagram:

Here are some important things to remember:

Assessment (Steps 1 & 2)

DO integrate with other initiatives - these changes are identical in essence to other initiatives like 'think family' and 'personal health budgets'.

DO tell people what they are likely to be entitled to - quickly - without delay or long-drawn out processes.

DO be honest, realistic and objective - if someone lacks capacity and needs either support or representation then its your job to make that clear and set things up.

DO use commonsense - if something’s urgent then deal with it with urgently.

DON’T underestimate the capacity of individuals or families - remember people may have many problems but they also have many assets.

Making it Happen (Steps 3, 4 & 5)

DO give people clear information - about their budget, their options and any rules that apply.

DO tell people if you cannot sign-off a plan and why - ideally all such reasons should be clear in the rules at the outset.

DO tell people directly if you’ve changed your mind about capacity and someone else needs to do the planning - just give objective reasons.

DO let other people help - encourage people to get help from friends, family, community organisations and particularly anyone you think can share useful experience - peer support.

DO let service provider’s help - at every stage - as long as people know they are under no obligation to choose a particular provider then people should be free to engage, talk to, plan with and get support from providers.

DON’T be vague, suggest things will be tricky or discourage people from having a go.

DON’T assume that self-direction can’t be done quickly, say as part of hospital discharge - just be really clear about options.

DON’T muddle up the size of the package with the capacity to plan - people with low needs can lack capacity or support and visa versa.

DON’T make people do complicated plans for the sake of it - simple is best - complex is only required in complex cases and the plans can be developed after the package is in place (in fact sometimes plans can only really be developed after the package is agreed).

DON’T send plans to panels unless they are over budget.

DON’T reject plans because they are unusual only if they are unsafe or over budget.

Reviews (Step 6)

DO ask people what is working as well as what is not working - and explore what to do with what you learn.

DO encourage people to learn and improve their own support arrangements.

DO take what you are learning - positive and negative - and use it to improve local developments.

DO ask people if they will share their experience with others - and make sure you follow up by linking people together. 

DON’T gather information that isn’t going to be used.


Published by The Centre for Welfare Reform.

Do's and Don'ts for a New Script © Simon Duffy and Kate Fulton 2011.

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.