All about Individual Service Funds (ISFs)

Everything you need to know about Individual Service Funds, from what they are and who they are for, to how and why they should be used.

What is an Individual Service Fund (ISF)?

An Individual Service Fund (ISF) is an arrangement where the budget for a person’s care and support arrangements is transferred from a Local Authority, directly to a support provider of the person’s choice. This enables the person to be in control of how their support is designed and delivered.

The chosen support provider, such as Ambient, uses the ISF to arrange services and support tailored to that person’s individual wishes and needs. This means that the person supported does not have to worry about managing the money side of things themselves and enables a flexible and transparent approach to support. Multiple support providers can be used at the same time.

The provider is then fully accountable for the handling of the fund and reports to the individual and their representative as well as the local authority.

Who are they for?

Individual Service Funds are available for people aged 18+ that have a learning disability and associated needs.

What can they be used for?

  • To pay for support from a chosen provider.
  • To attend services in the community such as day centers or services from other providers.
  • Support to access assistive technology or items such as exercise equipment/mobility equipment, subject to state assessment outcome.
  • Towards support hours for holidays or day trips away, where support hours can be moved or reduced to save up for these events.
  • Support provided to the person in their own home.
A day trip to Yarmouth

Why use an ISF?

Using an ISF means that decisions can be made easily and opportunities taken up in a timely manner. This is because the decision-making process is held by the individual and the people closest to them. It also means that there is chance for flexibility and creativity in the types of service or support that are provided.

Potential outcomes of using an ISF include:

  • Increased independence, choice and control
  • Increase in daily living skills and self-care
  • Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Increased Community and Social engagement
  • Improved health and wellbeing

How do people get an ISF? What is the process?

  1. The local authority will complete a Care Act assessment of the person to identify their support needs and allocate a proposed budget.
  2. The local authority will then refer the person to Ambient or another ISF provider on the framework. When a provider knows they can meet the support needs of the individual, they will inform the local authority and an assessment will be arranged.
  3. The person then chooses their support provider and a meeting is arranged to discuss the service requirements.
  4. An Easyread contract is provided, so that all parties are clear on their rights, roles and responsibilities.

How do Ambient deliver ISFs?

Ambient is a leading provider of ISFs and have been delivering this service since 2018. Helping people to live the life they want to, doing the activities they choose.

Ambient have an ISF Coordinator who carries out assessments and helps individuals to develop their support plan, to choose how and when they want their support delivered and by whom.

ISF Meeting
ISF Meeting

People can be supported in a variety of activities on a one-to-one basis, or with other people who also have an ISF and share the same interests if preferred. Examples include holidays, day trips, visiting places of interest, sports or educational activities.

Ambient also support people to develop daily living skills and independence, and we work with other providers to ensure individuals can access a wider range of opportunities to meet their needs. At Ambient, we aim to stay on top of developments in the ISF service and have attended various ISF events to demonstrate our knowledge in the social care sector and position ourselves as a reliable provider.

Watch the video below to hear first person stories from Sam and Steven, who found that their lives have been positively impacted by our person-centred approach and considered delivery of their ISFs.

For more information on Individual Service Funds at Ambient, contact our ISF Coordinator, Claire Wright at claire.wright@ambient.org.uk.

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