Individual Service Fund

Flexibility in choosing your home care provider

An Individual Service Fund (ISF) is a different way for you to pay for your care from a home care provider. We worked with home care agencies to develop this arrangement.

An ISF gives you choice and control of who the home care provider is, and flexibility in how, when and where the provider supports you.

We'll give the money (your agreed personal budget) direct to the home care provider, on a monthly basis. We expect the agency to work with you to agree how you would like your care and support arranged.

This gives you a much greater choice with the agencies that actually provide the service to you.

Examples of the ISF in use

The following examples show how you can use an ISF to manage your personal budget and tailor it to your situation.

Example one: Jane

  • Jane needs some support to assist her each morning to get ready for the day (personal care)
  • The Royal Borough of Greenwich has provided a personal budget to cover these costs seven days a week for as long as Jane needs the support. (You may need to pay a contribution to the cost of this support)
  • Jane and the home care provider develop a 'support plan', which sets out the way Jane would like this support provided
  • Jane's friend sometimes visits at the weekend and is happy to support Jane with personal care. The money saved when Jane's friend provides support can then be used for other activities. For example, Jane can use this money to ask the agency to provide some housework or to do some light shopping.

Example two: David

  • David has an ISF to provide him with personal care seven days a week
  • The agency provides him with all this support. David is going to spend a week with his son in Scarborough, who'll support him with his personal care
  • This means that the agency will not have to provide care for the week David is with his son. The agency will 'bank' those saved hours and David can choose to spend the money on alternative support. For example, David could have some light gardening work done, support to attend a museum, or extra support if he's feeling unwell.

Please note: You must use 'saved' hours within each monthly period. You cannot carry them over to the next month.

Common questions about the ISF

You can find answers to some common questions about the ISF.

How do I find an Individual Service Fund provider?

The Choice and Control Consortium usually helps you to choose a home care provider based on your particular needs. They're made up of many voluntary sector organisations which the Royal Borough of Greenwich supports.

In some cases, it might be an assessing officer from the Royal Borough who helps you find a home care provider through its brokerage team.

Once I have chosen my home care provider how do I set up services?

You can choose one of the following ways to set up your services:

  • Contact the home care provider yourself and arrange for the provider to come and visit you
  • Let the Choice and Control Consortium contact the provider on your behalf and arrange a visit
  • If an assessing officer is supporting you, the Royal Borough's brokerage team can contact the provider on your behalf.

What happens when I have set up the services?

When the worker from the home care provider comes out to visit, they'll talk to you about how you would like us to carry out the service, on what days and what times.

We'll put this information in a 'support plan' that also shows how you spend your budget. You or the agency can write the support plan or you can do it together. Your support plan belongs to you so you must be happy with what's in it.

You'll need to satisfy us that the support plan meets your needs before the services are set up.

What would I do if something goes wrong and the home care worker does not turn up?

In the first instance, you would always call the agency to see if they can sort it. If this does not work, you should call Adult Social Care.

What if I am unhappy with the agency I have chosen?

If you have tried to sort things out with the agency, but are still unhappy, you should contact Adult Social Care. They'll work with you to resolve the issues and, if necessary, find another agency for you.

Can I choose the agency care worker that I would prefer to provide my care?

Agencies cannot guarantee a certain care worker, but most will always try to ensure you're matched with someone who can meet your preferred requirements. For example, if you have a preference for a man or woman, or would like somebody who speaks the same language as you.

How do I know these are good agencies?

We have used these agencies for some time, and they're part of what we call a 'domiciliary framework contract'. This means we have vetted them.

How much notice do I have to give the agencies if I want to cancel a visit so that I can bank the time rather than lose it?

You must give the provider 48 hours (two days) notice.

Do I take on any legal responsibilities by doing it this way?

No. We're still contracting with the agency on your behalf. You're only negotiating on how you want to use the hours and money to provide you with your care and support.

Can I change from Individual Service Fund to Direct Payment?

If you decide you would like to enjoy complete control of your care services, contact Adult Social Care. We can provide you with the information and support you need to arrange this.