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Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Market Context

Individual Service Funds (ISF) give both adults and care and support providers more flexibility to deliver support in a way that focuses on the person’s individual circumstances, wants and needs.  They offer choice and control for people who cannot or do not want to access a direct payment but would still like more personalised support.  ECC are developing an early adopter approach to learn how to deliver ISFs well.

Individual Service Funds are an alternative way of contracting with the market that gives more choice and control to the person receiving the service. Rather than commission for a standard service such as home care or a day opportunity we would commission based on a set of outcomes, eligible needs with an agreed personal budget.

This allows the ISF holding organisation to look at a broad range of support to meet the needs and outcomes. They could deliver some and broker to other low-cost/no cost solutions or specialist provision. This is similar to managing and using a Direct Payment, but an organisation is responsible for the personal budget rather than the individual managing it themselves. This allows people who do not have the capacity to enter into contracts to benefit from more choice and control over their support.

We are working to develop local ISF markets in Essex to enable more individuals to consider and benefit from ISF arrangements.

Essex  Market  
No. Providers 16
No. Adults 44

The information shown in the table(s) above is correct as of 31st March 2024.

Our vision is to have a countywide offer for Individual service funds with organisations in each locality able to offer this flexible service arrangement to customers. We have a plan in place to get to this position within the next 3-years.

The COVID impact highlighted is:

  • Covid has had an impact in terms of providers having the capacity to develop new systems to manage ISFs and help shape the early adopter work. This has slowed the expansion of the new core model.

Current market risks:

  • Lack of interest from the market – mitigation – We now have established examples, learning and insight to share with the market to generate interest and expansion.
  • Limited alternative solutions to broker to – mitigation – ECC are working in local communities to develop Community Micro Enterprises (CMEs) for specialist, niche and local provision. CMEs can support and respond to the brokerage elements for ISFs.

Our current area of focus is:

  • Basildon Early Adopter site – Increase the number of providers becoming early adopters and expanding across South Essex.
  • Basildon Early Adopter site – Test a brokerage only model with the VCS.
  • Mid Essex Pilot - ECC have delivered a pilot with a provider delivering a new model of Care in Mid Essex using an ISF.
  • Other areas - Expand the locality (provider-led) early adopter approach to other areas of the county.
  • Develop a countywide ISF approach – Create an approach to ensure a consistent offer across the county with local ISF markets.
Last updated: 31/03/2024