What are Individual Service Funds (ISFs)?
An Individual Service Fund (ISF) is an arrangement where a local authority transfers the funds agreed for a person’s care and support arrangements to an organisation of their choice, so that the person can be in control of how their support is designed and delivered. An ISF is one type of personal budget.
How do Individual Service Funds work?
- A person with assessed needs chooses an organisation to hold their ISF on their behalf.
- The local authority has a flexible contract arrangement with that organisation, so it can hold the person’s budget.
- The organisation has a ‘two-way agreement’ with the person to determine how their ISF will be managed.
- The organisation works with the person (and their family/circle of support, if appropriate) to design and set up their support using the ISF.
- The local authority pays the ISF directly to the organisation. The money is protected so it can’t be spent on anything else.
- If a change needs to be made to the person’s support, the organisation can make the change straight away without waiting for confirmation from the person’s social worker.
- The ISF can be used flexibly to provide support – such as paying for services in the community, services from other providers or assistive technology – as long as it meets the outcomes identified within the person’s Care Act assessment.
- The organisation must provide a regular report to the person about how their budget is being spent.
Benefits of Individual Service Funds
ISFs offer a wealth of benefits for people with assessed needs, including:
Choice and Control: ISFs empower people to make decisions about their support, fostering a sense of ownership and autonomy over their lives.
Tailored Support: With the flexibility of ISFs, people can access support services that align precisely with their unique needs, maximising their potential for change.
Holistic Approach: ISFs recognise that support should not only address immediate needs but also focus on enhancing overall well-being, independence, and inclusion.
Collaborative Decision-Making: ISFs encourage individuals, families, and support providers to work together, ensuring a collaborative and person-centred approach to support.
Encouraging Innovation: ISFs enable individuals to explore new approaches, therapies, or activities that may not be available under traditional support models, fostering a spirit of creativity, flexibility, and possibility.