Skip to content
Coast Banner

Self-directed support explained

We support residents aged 18 years or above, to stay independent, safe and well at home and in their community, if they have, or they care for someone who has:

  • a learning disability
  • a physical or sensory impairment
  • mental health needs
  • frailty due to age.

We want to enable people to have choice and control over the way their needs are met; we do this through a process known as self-directed support.

Request an assessment

If you think you could benefit from social care services, you can request a supported assessment by getting in touch with our Adult Social Care Contact Centre.

Call 01202 123 654 or email You could ask someone else to do this on your behalf, such as a friend, relative, GP or District Nurse.

So we can help as many people as possible, we need to make sure that our services go to those who need them most. We do this by applying our eligible criteria

Your supported assessment visit

We will arrange for one of our practitioner will arrange to visit your home to discuss what’s important to you, what care needs you have and the outcomes you’d like to achieve. You can have a friend, relative or someone else with you to help you if you want. We can also arrange interpreter services if your first language is not English.

During the assessment, we will consider your views and wishes, and give you information about help and other resources available in your community. In the assessment we will ask you questions like:

  • what can you do for yourself
  • what can you do if given some help
  • what help do you feel you need
  • who helps you now
  • what is the best way of meeting your needs
  • what goals/outcomes would you like to achieve?

We also consider the views of anyone caring for you and take their needs into account.

Your personal budget  

If you are eligible for services, your personal budget will then be calculated. This is a sum of money allocated to cover the cost of your support. The way this money is used will be detailed in your support plan and will depend on whether you wish to arrange services for yourself, or if you wish us to arrange them on your behalf.

Depending on your financial circumstances you may need to contribute towards your personal budget. This is known as your personal contribution which will be determined by a financial assessment of your ability to pay.

What if you’re not eligible for care

If you’re not eligible for funded support, we will help you to find out what else is available. There are a range of other services available that can help you stay well and maintain your independence.

Find out more information about Adult Social Care

Our Care and Support Directory provides comprehensive information and advice on choosing and paying for your care and support in Dorset.

Your support plan

We’ll work with you to prepare and agree a support plan. This describes how your needs will be met and how your outcomes can be achieved.

You’ll be able to use your personal budget to fund meeting your care needs and to support the goals/outcomes identified in your support plan. These needs can be met via:

  • a direct payment where we give you cash payments to pay for your own care support services as agreed in your support plan
  • adult social care managing your personal budget and arranging services for you
  • a mixture of both.

Your support plan will be personal to you and may include services such as home care, day care or respite care as well as other community-based services. Your support plan will show:

  • how and when services will be provided
  • what assessed needs and outcomes they will meet for you
  • how much the services will cost
  • who will arrange the services
  • how any risks to your support might be managed.

The advantages of receiving a direct payment

If we arrange your care, the choice is usually limited to those service providers we currently have contracts with. If you choose to take your personal budget as a direct payment, you’ll have greater choice and flexibility over how your care needs are met. In agreement with us, you may use a direct payment to:

  • have your personal care provided by your own personal assistant or using a Care Quality Commission registered agency of your choice
  • take independent day opportunities as an alternative to attending one of our day centres
  • arrange respite care to enable an unpaid carer to have a break.

Checking to see if things are working out

We’ll contact you regularly to see whether you are achieving what you set out to do. We’ll also need to make sure that you are using the money to meet the agreed outcomes in your support plan appropriately. We’ll also check that any care we have arranged for you still meets your needs.

Your personal information

Safeguarding your personal information is important to us. Throughout the self-directed support process, we’ll follow our protecting your personal information procedures.