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Enabling risk and ensuring safety: self‐directed support and personal budgets

Sarah Carr (Based at the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), London, UK and is also an Honorary Fellow at Staffordshire University, Stoke‐on‐Trent, UK.)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 17 June 2011




This paper aims to present a digest of the main discussion points and key findings from a recent Social Care Institute for Excellence report on risk enablement and safeguarding in the context of self‐directed support and personal budgets.


The paper explores how the personalisation agenda and adult safeguarding can work together in policy and practice and addresses some of the frontline concerns about empowerment and duty of care.


Evidence on how self‐directed support and personal budgets can be used to enable people to take positive risks while staying safe and emerging practice is examined. It suggests that person‐centred working in adult safeguarding, along with the mechanism of self‐directed support planning and outcome review, can support the individual to identify the risks they want to take and those they want to avoid in order to stay safe. It is clear that if frontline practitioners are overly occupied with protecting organisations and individuals from financial abuse, this will impact on the capacity of those practitioners exercising their duty of care at the front line. This means that practitioners are less able to engage with individuals to identify safeguarding issues and enable positive risk taking. Defensive risk management strategies or risk‐averse frontline practice may then result in individuals not being adequately supported to make choices and take control and, therefore, being put at risk. Practitioners need to be supported by local authorities to incorporate safeguarding and risk enablement in their relationship‐based, person‐centred working. Good quality, consistent and trusted relationships and good communication are particularly important for self‐directed support and personal budget schemes.


The use of “risk enablement panels” and “personalisation and safeguarding frameworks” are two ways to address some of the issues in practice.



Carr, S. (2011), "Enabling risk and ensuring safety: self‐directed support and personal budgets", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 122-136.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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