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Individual Service Funds (ISF) Guide

Authors: Sam Smith and Frances Brown

Getting support from a support organisation for people with complex needs has too often been on a 'take it or leave it' basis. In the past the person was forced to fit themselves into the organisation's way of doing things. But things are beginning to change and growing numbers of support organisations are learning how to support the person to live their life - in their own way.

Today there are many organisations who are trying to provide personalised support. One of the most useful tools for these organisations is an Individual Service Fund (ISF). This means treating any available funding as a personal budget and working with the person to ensure that it is used to help them full live a life of active citizenship.

This new guide on Individual Service Funds (ISFs) has been produced by two professionals, who have between them, over 40 years of experience in using Individual Service Funds (ISFs) to provide personalised support. The guide provides:

  1. Clear principles explaining what an Individual Service Fund is and how to use it
  2. Real life stories and examples that explain the benefits of using an Individual Service Fund
  3. Guidance to organisations and funders on how to establish systems for Individual Service Funds

This guide was produced on behalf of In Control Scotland and it helps explain how Option 2 - which is part of the Scottish legislation for Self-Directed Support - can work in practice. However this guide will also be useful to those in other countries who are working to ensure that self-directed support is available to everyone, and that is not restricted only to those people whose disabilities who take total responsibility for self-management. Individual Service Funds (ISFs) make the benefits of self-directed support available to everyone, even people with the most complex needs.

This guide has also been produced in association with Citizen Network. Citizen Network is a cooperative community, made up of individuals, groups and organisations committed to ensuring everyone can live a life of full citizenship.

A hard copy of the guide is available to buy via Amazon.

To order copies in bulk please email: admin@centreforwelfarereform.org

Read and download the free pdf in your browse here.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Individual Service Funds - a guide to making Self-Directed Support work for everyone © Sam Smith and Frances Brown 2018.

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.

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