Individual Service Funds (ISF)

The new Individual Service Fund (ISF) policy sets out the arrangements for how care providers work with the person to develop tailored adult social care, support and activities. As part of the consultation, stakeholders are being asked how clear the new policy is.

The consultation opened on 13 May and will close on 24 June. People can now have their say on the policy by filling in our questionnaire.

Following the input from the consultation, we will review the results and revise an updated policy, which will be sent to cabinet in September.


An Individual Service Fund (ISF) is one way of managing a personal budget, where someone who needs care and support (and/or their family, advocate or carer) chooses an organisation to manage the budget on their behalf and works with them to plan care and support services and activities that will help them to achieve their identified outcomes.

This arrangement uses a more flexible contracting arrangement between the commissioning authority (Lancashire County Council) and the ISF holding provider who work with the person to design and implement the support they need to meet their assessed outcomes (which are set by Social Workers). The budget will always be based upon their eligible needs.

An ISF operates in a very similar way to a Direct Payments, with one important difference – the ISF holding organisation is directly commissioned and accountable to the local authority for the delivery of outcomes. The ISF provider manages the support and activity needed to deliver the plan, through a combination of direct provision and subcontracting. This includes all financial aspects including using the ISF to pay invoices for services provided, purchasing items of equipment, and paying the cost of social and community-based activities that have been identified in the support plan.

Benefits of managing your personal budget through an ISF

For some people, arranging their own care and support services and managing their weekly personal budget is a perfect solution. This can give people a higher degree of choice and control over how their needs are met and who is going to help them to do this. For these people, a Direct Payment is likely to still be the best choice.

For others, planning, organising support arrangements and managing the money is more responsibility than they may want (or feel that they can cope with).

With an ISF, the supported person and their representative can:

  • Choose the organisation they want to hold their ISF.
  • Use the Personal Budget in a flexible way to meet outcomes and support needs
  • Use the Personal Budget to pay for support from a range of different organisations if they want to

An Individual Service Fund is therefore a good option for people who want more choice over who supports them and how this is done, and who want to work in partnership with an organisation co-produce their own support plan, but who cannot or don’t want to manage the financial aspects of a Direct Payment.

If you have an enquiry about the consultation on Individual Service Funds, including requesting information in an easy read format please contact