Flexible Support & Contracting (ISFs)

The Centre and many of its Fellows are working actively to promote more flexible approaches to support and contracting in health and social care services. This includes, although it involves much more than, using Individual Service Funds (ISFs).

The Centre believes that high quality and flexible support requires:

Accountability - the help we get must be under our control

Individualisation - help should be tailored to our needs

Responsiveness - help and support must change as we change

Partnership - good help means working together to achieve the best

Empowerment - the best help ensures we are full and active citizens

A range of useful resources in the Centre's library are listed on the right hand side of the page. 

The Centre's Director, Simon Duffy, helped to write the national guidance on flexible support - download the pdf: Individual Service Funds (ISFs) and contracting for Flexible Support.

We share a wide range of free resources and information about ISFs in our online library here

Many of these are also listed on the right hand side of this page below the Library heading. 

Currently the Centre is supporting TLAP and local authorities in England to increase the opportunity of flexible support to more people.

Some of the barriers that local authorities and others have told us they face include:

  • Ensuring new contracting arrangements are legally sound
  • Making ISFs work for older people in their own home or in Extra Care Housing
  • Making ISFs work for people leaving ATUs
  • Breaking down existing block contracts for support provision
  • Helping providers use ISFs - e.g. exploring rules for pooling ISFs
  • Changing assumptions of social workers and commissioners about what is possible

Important guidance has recently been published both by the Government and the Local Government Association (LGA) underlining the many possibilities that exist for ensuring contractual arrangements are consistent with flexible support and contracting.

Other resources on ISFs will be made available as they are developed in local areas.

If you would like to join us and get involved please email Simon Duffy.

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