Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

09th December 2015

Implementing Individual Service Funds

Dear Sheila,
What is your suggestion/advise about the implementation of the Individual service Fund (ISF) that is coming into force?



Dear Ben,

There is a great deal of very useful advice on the Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) website about implementing the Individual Service Fund.

I have taken the following from their website which I think gives us all an outline of what ISF will mean in practice.

This is the definition of an Individual Service Fund:

“An approach that can be developed alongside framework contracts and included within service specifications to enhance flexibility is the introduction of individual service funds (ISFs). ISFs are being developed by councils to ensure people with managed budgets have the greatest possible choice and control within commissioned services. This is where all or part of the person’s budget is held by a provider of their choice under the terms of a contract held between the council and the provider – this can be a framework contract, a spot purchase or a cost and volume contract. ISFs have so far been developed in supported living and shared services as well as for domiciliary care.”

3.2 Key features of an ISF include:

  • All or part of a personal budget held by a provider on an individual’s behalf where the money is restricted for use on that person’s support and accounted for accordingly;
  • No specific tasks predetermined so that the personal budget holder is empowered to plan with the provider the who, how and what of any support provided;
  • Flexibility to roll money/support over into future weeks or months and to bank support for particular purposes;
  • Accompanied by written information that clearly explains the arrangement and confirms any management costs to come from the personal budget (usually not more than 10%);
  • Portability so that the personal budget holder can choose to use the money in a different way or with a different provider, usually with a four week notice period.

Every Local Authority appears to be developing their own approach and if you google Individual Service Fund you will find the work that most Councils are undertaking.

Best wishes.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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