We hope that these definitions of some of the terms and acronyms that are often used when talking about support, learning disabilities or autism is helpful. To read each definition, simply click on the relevant term or word.
Action learning sets
Autism Friendly Environments
Autistic Spectrum Conditions
Care funding calculator
Circle of support
Community Care Assessment
Equality Impact Analysis
Individual Service Fund
Just Enough Support
Personal budget/Individual budget
Person-centred thinking tools
Positive and productive meetings
Progress for providers
Registered care home
The perfect week
This list is not intended to be exhaustive but if you think there are any terms that have been missed out here, then please get in touch with us using the details on the right.
Small groups where people work and learn together by tackling real issues and reflect on their action. The learning guides future actions and improves performance.
The amount of money that an individual has outlined in their individual service fund.
Assistive Technology includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities. It promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they are unable to accomplish, or have great difficulty accomplishing. Examples include automatic links to monitoring centres or call centres, motion detectors, automatic toilet flushes, bed sensor pads.
Autism friendly environments are places or events that have been adapted to make them more accessible for people with sensory differences. This could include considerations about the layout, lighting, acoustics or signage used. It could also describe the way in which staff at a business are trained and a general workplace culture that promotes understanding and inclusivity.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability, sometimes referred to as Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). Its causes are not fully understood, although there is some evidence that genetic factors are involved.
The term ‘spectrum’ is used because, while all people with autism share three main areas of difficulty (communication, interaction with other people, understanding and predicting others behaviour) their condition affects them in different ways.
An assessment tool that enables you to detail the level of support required to meet an individual’s needs. The care funding calculator is Dimensions’ preferred tool for determining individual service funds.
A group of people, including friends, family and people in the community, who come together around a person we support. Using person-centred thinking and planning, they enable the person to live their life fully. The group meets regularly, at least 4 times a year, one of these being for the person-centred review.
The local authority social services department must carry out an assessment for anyone who appears to need a community care service. This is called a community care assessment.
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These are payments given to choose, organise and pay for the social care services they need, rather than using the services offered by their local authority.
These measure the engagement in meaningful activity of people we support, and the levels of Active Support displayed by their support team. They need to be carried out by a trained observer.
An Equality Impact Analysis a key tool in assisting to determine how policies, procedures and proposals will impact or affect groups of people as per the protected characteristics within the Equality Act.
The purpose of the Equality Impact Analysis in the context of our personalisation journey is to assess the possible impact of the changes to the people we support in relation to their diversity.
- Protected characteristics are:
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- pregnancy and maternity
Group living is enables a small group of people to share a house of flat. They have their own tenancy, either with a housing association or landlord and we provide their support. Some people have 24 hour support, others need only a few hours a day.
An up-front allocation of money that can combine several funding sources that someone can use to design and purchase support from the public, private or voluntary sector. All funds are subject to eligibility criteria.
This is a version of a provider-managed Personal Budget, where a budget is managed by a service provider on behalf of an individual. Individual Service Funds have been used to apply Personal Budgets to residential care.
The money is restricted for use on providing care and support services for that individual, which meet the criteria set out in their support plan. It can include services purchased from other providers.
As services are personalised, each person we support will have a signed Individual Service Fund Agreement.
Individual Service Funds mean that:
- The money is held by the provider on the individual’s behalf
- The person decides how to spend the money
- The provider is accountable to the person
- The provider commits to only spend the money on the individual’s service and the management and support necessary to provide that service (not into a general pooled budget).
Just Enough Support means the optimum level of support that will increase the chances of people we support connecting with local people in their community.
Resources are used effectively so that we actively reduce reliance on paid support, and proactively enhance relationships and opportunities that people we support have within their own communities.
This leads to a wider variety of relationships and connections for the people we support, the ability of the organisation to target resources more effectively and the community can benefit from the contribution and presence of people we support.
Disabilities that reduce a person's ability to understand new or complex information, learn new skills and cope independently. The degree of disability can vary greatly.
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Makaton is a program designed to provide a means of communication to individuals who cannot communicate efficiently by speaking.
Our performance management system uses person-centred thinking tools to measure expectations for each employee’s performance and development, capturing how well each employee is performing in their role and the contribution they are making.
By tracking the progress of individual employees and teams, we can identify future training and support needs, and offer constructive feedback about performance, tasks, action and development.
Performance management includes regular one2one meetings and annual appraisal meetings between an employee and their line manager, with feedback incorporated from people we support or colleagues.
This is a statement that sets out the cost to the local authority of meeting an adult's care needs. It includes the amount that the adult must pay towards that cost themselves (on the basis of their financial assessment), as well as any amount that the local authority must pay. Users can either take their personal budget as a direct payment, or - while still choosing how their care needs are met and by whom - leave councils with the responsibility to commission the services. Or they can have some combination of the two.
Personalisation is a government-led national policy to ensure people who need care and support are recognised as individuals who have strengths and preferences, and should have choice and control over how they spend their time and how they are supported. The traditional service-led approach has often meant that people have not been able to shape the kind of support they need, or receive the right kind of help. Personalisation maintains that, with support, individuals should receive their own budget and decide how, who with and where they spend it in order to meet their needs and achieve their desired outcomes.
Read our award-winning book; Making it Personal: A provider's journey from tradition to transformation
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Person-centred planning is an approach to support which puts the individual at the centre of planning for their lives. There is an emphasis on the individual's choice and control and listening to what is important to them, both now and in the future.
Person-centred thinking is a set of values, skills and tools used to assist in getting to know someone, what they find important and what they want out of life. Person-centred thinking tools are used in all sorts of situations, helping us plan, organise, and to understand and connect with communities. They are the foundation of how we work.
Person-centred thinking tools include:
Getting to know someone
Discovering the perfect week (how someone wants to leave)
- One page profile
- Important to/for
- Good day/bad day
- Relationship circle
- Communications charts
- What’s working/not working
Delivering the perfect week (how to make it happen)
- Community mapping
- Perfect week
Ongoing learning and review
- Roles and responsibilities (Doughnut)
- Matching support
- Decision making agreements
- Learning log
- 4+1 questions
A review meeting that explores what is important to a person we support, what support he/she needs, what is working and not working from his/her perspective and other people’s perspectives, and agrees actions for change.
The process involves the person herself, key people who have to be there to meet statutory requirements and, importantly, anyone else that the person we support wants to invite.
A schedule that takes account of what people we support want to do, when it is best to take place and who is best to support each person to do it.
Planning Live is a planning event that brings all the people who are important to a person together, to listen to what is important to them and discuss a range of life and support options.
It culminates in a set of outcomes that the person wants to fulfil in the coming year and a template for a ‘perfect week’ on which to base the planning of the person’s support.
The event brings everyone who lives and shares support together into one place, each with their own support circle made up of family friends and supporters, and can include a person's Person Centred Review within the format, so as not to duplicate any work or meeting time.
Planning Live is a time for listening and understanding and so, in many ways, is just the beginning of personalising someone's service, as what has been heard needs to be translated into real support and real life.
Planning Live cannot be held until it is clear what someone’s allocation of money is.
‘Positive and Productive Meetings' is a practical meeting process which embeds the principles of person centred thinking and involves:
- Having a clear purpose and outcomes for each meeting
- Creating a process and environment where people can be listened to and think for themselves
- Working to people's strengths and sharing responsibility for a successful meeting through people taking different roles
Positive and Productive meetings include:
- Agenda - people receive a copy of the agenda before the meeting, which states the outcome and what preparation is required for each item. The agenda should also include the time allocated to each item, who is leading it, and whether the item is for discussion, decision or information.
- Opening Rounds - starting with a positive, uninterrupted opening round helps people stay connected and increases the likelihood they will contribute during the meeting.
- Closing Rounds - ending with an appreciative, uninterrupted round helps end the meeting on a positive note. Other uninterrupted rounds at appropriate points throughout meetings are also used as an effective way of getting contributions from everyone - this is particularly helpful when discussion is getting bogged down or where it is being dominated by one or two perspectives.
- Ground Rules are a list of short, positive agreements that define how groups interact when they are together.
- Roles will be assigned at the start of a meeting. Some of these may have been decided beforehand, but having them displayed in the meeting will ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
Meeting Facilitator or Chair - guides the meetings, using tools to focus the group on the agenda and to solve problems creatively, effectively, and efficiently. The role is to achieve the agenda outcomes, through everyone's contribution. During the meeting the facilitator or chair will:
- let the owner of an agenda item introduce the issue and answer questions
- use rounds to hear what everyone thinks about a particular issue or question, or to overcome any obstacles or distractions
- summarise the conversation, checking to make sure everyone feels heard
- work with the timekeeper to keep the meeting moving
- focus the conversation on the Agenda item and any decision that needs to be taken
- summarise the action points at the end of each item.
Timekeeper - keeps the meeting moving by watching the clock and gently reminding the group of the agreed time limits as set out on the agenda. Works with the Chair to adjust times as needed if crucial items need more time. Sets clear time-frames for breaks and encourage people to come back to the meeting in a timely fashion.
Hospitality Person - responsible for ensuring that people feel comfortable during the meeting. The role is not about making tea and coffee, but monitoring the group's comfort level, making sure there is a chair for everyone, adjusting the temperature of the room if needed, ensuring refreshments are available, and suggesting a break if people are fading or getting restless.
- Recorder - creates a record of agreed actions and timelines, as well as important discussions from the meeting. After the meeting, the recorder shares it with everyone who attended. If the recorder is identified as an owner on one of the agenda items, delegate someone else to take notes during that
This tool self-assesses the level of knowledge and skills in the use of person-centred thinking and approaches, how a team is supported to use them and how they are doing in creating a person-centred team and culture at work.
It is a really good way to find out what support or training managers may need, as well as providing a baseline of competence for the organisation.
People with very complex or high support needs may choose to or need to live in residential care. Care homes have a registered manager and a staff team.
A change to the way the social care system operates to give you choice, control and power over the support you receive.
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This is where a group of people live together but with individual tenancy agreements and support packages.
A person (e.g. a person we support), a group of people (e.g. someone’s family) or an organisation (e.g. the local authority or commissioner), who can be affected by our actions and who should be communicated or consulted with during any process.
In Dimensions, a support advisor is someone who helps people with a personal budget choose and plan their support. Find out how a support advisor can help you
This is a document that describes what a person wants to change about their life and how they will use their individual budget to do this. The circle of support is usually involved and the plan is reviewed regularly.
This is where we support people living in their own homes, whether they live alone or with someone else.
This is a way to help the person think about what their life will actually look like in the future. By thinking about what they would like to do during the week you are helping people to move towards what is practical and possible - it is a way for transforming dreams into reality.
A completed perfect week will be what a service works towards and the standard by which all its efforts are compared.
Transitions describes the period from 14 – 19 when a child moves from child to adult services in social care and health, and the end of education in school into the next stage of education or employment.
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