• Autism at Kingwood’s work with individual service funds (ISFs) to transform lives

    Autism at Kingwood have been working in collaboration with local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and other social care experts to help move people out of inappropriate long-term inpatient institutions and into their own homes.

    People who have been through the institutional system have always had health funding, because of the nature and complexity of their needs. The responsibility for managing these large levels of funding as a direct payment to the individual can be very overwhelming, but council managed services can allow for very low levels of choice and responsibility for the person receiving funding.

    Another option is for people to receive an Individual Service Fund (ISF), where a service provider works with the person to manage the funding and provide flexible support.

    COO, Estelle Christmas, explains how Autism at Kingwood came to be involved:

    “TheEstelle Christmas Chief Operating Officer individual service fund is about empowering the individual to have much more control over the way that they live their life and the way they direct their support, something that is very much part of Autism at Kingwood’s core values. This was recognised by Lives Through Friends, an organisation that shares our ethos, who advised Wiltshire CCG and mum to approach Autism at Kingwood to manage the ISF.

    We work really closely with the person receiving funding and their support circle to find out what the best use of the funding is for that person. For all expenditure we are accountable to the person receiving     funding and to the clinical commissioning group (CCG) so it’s all very transparent, very open, and it’s all  undertaken with the individuals best interests at the centre of it all. With the ISFs we have undertaken, there has been really strong collaboration and partnership with organisations who are totally aligned with how we think and do things. It’s really exciting—together we can really make a difference to people.

    The ISF is a national initiative but there is currently hesitancy from commissioners around ISFs because it gives more control to the person receiving funding, which is a big change. However Wiltshire are pulling together case studies for the people we have been working with, to be part of a national agenda that informs other local CCG’s and local authorities. We hope that ISFs become more and more the norm,  handing control to the people receiving support, and we will be there to provide help where it is needed. It is lovely to be recognised as experts in our field, and it means we can really go where the need is, which is what we want to do.”


    Abi Cowley

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