Papers on individualised funding  and brokerage

This page provides access to an archive of papers which I have written (or co-authored) on topics linked to individualised funding (in UK terminology, “personal budgets” and Direct Payments) and/or support brokerage.  The papers cover a period of twenty years, and were published under the auspices of several organisations.  These include Values Into Action (VIA); Emprise International Consultancy, a business partnership with Brian Salisbury); the National Development Team (NDT) and, in its re-configured form, the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi).  Several of the papers are also available on the NDTi website,

The following list summarises each document in date order, starting with the oldest.  All documents are in Acrobat format. To see (download) a document, (Right/ctrl) click on the title.

Who Does What: The process of enabling people with learning difficulties to achieve what they need and want



This short paper sets out to design a social care system from first principles, particularly those principles that we all expect to find in civic and commercial systems.  These include the principle that a good system will avoid roles that have major conflicts of interest.    (There are welcome signs that conflict of interest is at last being taken seriously in the context of personalisation. However, some surprisingly senior voices have continued to insist that, in contrast to almost every other industry, it isn’t an important issue in social care.  Presumably this is on the basis that workers in social care are all immensely wise and saintly.)   The analysis in Who Does What – which is no less relevant now than in 1990 – points to the flaws in the care manager role, and suggests the support broker as a better way forward.

Individualized Funding: Emerging Policy Issues


Commissioned by the Roeher Institute in Canada, and co-authored with Brian Salisbury. 

This paper examines, from an international standpoint, the challenges and risks presented by individualised funding to government, service providers, and social care recipients.  Now more than ten years old, it should have merely historical interest.  Sadly, exactly the same challenges face the development of personalisation in the UK, with little evidence of any coherent response from government, with the result that the risks are becoming all too evident.

Understanding the role of the broker


Co-authored with Brian Salisbury, published in ‘Common Sense’, Issue 8, December 2000, National Program, Office on Self-Determination, University of New Hampshire.

A description of the role of support broker in terms of key characteristics.  Although slanted towards a US readership (and hence using the term service broker rather than support broker) it remains a useful summary.

Not just about the money: Reshaping social care for self-determination


Community Living and Emprise International Training and Consultancy

The date of publication of Not just about the money (NJAM) places it after the launch of Valuing People, but before there had been any significant implementation of individualised funding in England other than Direct Payments.  NJAM argued that the laudable aims of Valuing People could not be achieved without the development of Direct Payments into a new social care system based on individualised funding.   Although in essence a campaigning document, it is a substantial (64 page) paper that sets out not only the case for an IF-based system, but also the main features and principles of the proposed system.  In some ways, inevitably, this proposed system is similar to the way in which personalised social care is currently being developed; but there are important differences, particularly the greater emphasis on the need to design the new system with a structure that ensures role clarity for the main actors.

Independence and the support broker role



Earlier papers (e.g. those above) had set out the need for support brokers to be independent.  However, when we began to develop IF programmes in England (specifically, the NDT Life Planning projects in North Somerset and Brent, starting 2004) it became apparent that a decision on independence is not always easy.  There are many ‘grey area’ situations in which a judgement has to be made.  Equally, however, it becomes clear that independence is not just about lines of accountability. This short discussion paper explores these issues, and offers guidelines on the degree to which compromise is acceptable.

Independent support brokers: Required competencies and characteristics



The Life Planning projects called for the recruitment and training of independent support brokers, which made it necessary to develop a system of assessment to determine whether people had, by the end of the training, demonstrated sufficient knowledge skills, and appropriate values to start working as brokers.  This in turn required us to develop a set of statements to support the assessment process.    The statements are set out in this document, and continue to be used for the assessments that are now a standard feature of NDTi independent broker training.  Incidentally, the list is described as a set of characteristics, rather than competencies, because it includes the requirement that brokers should independent.

Is a broker just someone who does brokerage?



There has been a great deal of confusion about the role and contribution of support brokers in individual budget systems.  One reason for the muddle has been the government-supported view that brokers are simply one of a number of potential sources of brokerage.   This two-page paper aims to explain why that simply won’t do as the basis for policy on brokerage development in England.

Independent support brokers: The Why, What, and How



A paper aimed particularly at councils looking at the best way to develop broker services within their local system of Personal Budgets. It identifies the importance of the role of independent brokers in an individualised funding system, the scope of their role, and offers a practical programme for the development of local independent broker services.

Custom and Control: The training and accreditation of independent support brokers



The outcome of an NDT project funded by the Department of Health, this report aims  to build a coherent picture of the support broker role, drawing on extensive consultations  as well as learning from England and abroad.  It discusses the arguments for and against a system that sets standards for broker training and practice, and suggests an approach to training and regulation that is designed to answer common concerns about the development of a new, self-serving profession.  The report can be seen as a foundation for the subsequent work for Skills for Care (see below).

The independent broker role and training requirements - Summary report


Skills for Care

This report sets out the conclusions from a project carried out by the NDTi for Skills for Care.   The recommendations, covering both the broker role and the training requirements, were based on extensive consultations.

Developing independent broker resources: decision points and options



Originally designed to accompany a conference presentation, this summarises the choices facing council commissioners who want to develop local brokerage resources, following the path that leads to independent fee-for-service brokers.  There’s enough here to keep a planning group busy for a day or two, though they might need some help (which of course I’d happily provide) to understand the choices fully.

The emergence of the independent support broker role


NDTi  [Note: the link for this download points to the NDTi website - see

Journal of Integrated Care (Volume 17 : issue 4 : August 2009. Pages 22 – 30), Pavilion Journals (Brighton) Ltd

This article identifies some of the key areas of debate about the relevance of independence support brokers to the implementation of personalised social care, and outlines the proposals for broker training developed in the Skills for Care project.

Individualised funding and brokerage papers
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