Person Centred Planning

Person Centred Planning discovers and acts on what is important to a person. It is a process for continual listening and learning, focussing on what is important to someone now and in the future, and acting on this in alliance with their family and their friends.

Thompson J. Kilbane J. Sanderson H. (2008) Person Centred Practice for Professionals

Person Centred Planning is …

  • A way of assisting children and young people to work out what they want, the support they require and helping to ensure they get it
  • Child or young person centred, but is carried out in partnership with family and friends
  • An on-going process.  If it is to be effective it must result in real change for children and young people with SEND.
  • About supporting children and young people to plan their lives, work towards their goals (outcome driven) and get the right support.

Person Centred Planning is not …

  • The same as assessment and care planning: it is not concerned with eligibility for resources or other predetermined criteria
  • Only for people who are ‘easy to work with'
  • An end in itself: there are serious risks in focusing on achieving large numbers of plans, rather than ensuring that people get the lives they want
  • A replacement for other necessary forms of planning.  For example a service may still need to plan in ways that help them ensure services are competent and reliable

The five key features of Person Centred Planning

  1. The child or young person is at the centre
  2. Family members and friend are full partners
  3. Reflects a child or young person’s capacities, what is important to them  and specifies support they require contribute to their community
  4. Builds a shared commitment to action that recognises a child or young person’s rights
  5. Leads to a continual process of listening, learning and action and helps the child or young person get what they want out of life.
Council for Disabled Children's Person Centred Planning Film

The Department for Education and the Council for Disabled Children have produced an animation to help explain the person centred planning relation to Education, Health and Care Planning.

Case Study Examples

Case Study 1: A young man with significant learning difficulties and behavioural difficulties had help to prepare for his Annual Review by inviting together the people who knew him best, including family and friends. Using poster sized paper and recording what was said in simple language and pictures they helped him map out:

  • His positive characteristics.
  • What he is good at and enjoys.
  • Some ideas for the future based on his qualities, skills and interests.

This was then reduced to A4 size using the computer and presented at the Annual Review Meeting.

Case Study 2: A young man with communication difficulties was helped to make his own unique style of portfolio to tell people about himself. The document was based on a format that he loved – readalong taped stories. It therefore included an outer box cover within which there was a bi-lingual booklet written in the style of a story, complemented by favourite photographs and images. An audio-taped version was also included along with segments of his favourite songs to help highlight key themes. The whole point is to produce a document that works for the individual rather than impose a format.

Case Study 3: A young girl with complex physical and health needs in her final year at school was supported to make a ‘Listen to Me’ book. It told people how she likes to communicate and what support she needs to be comfortable and happy. The book was quite detailed and written from her point of view using familiar words and phrases. It described the most important and essential areas of her life that would be vital information for those involved in the transition process. The book was complimented by video clips to show ‘best support’.

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