POP created without our knowledge

We were recently appointed a new social worker. She asked to meet with my daughter and myself as she put it to ‘Get to know us’ It transpires that she actually used the meeting to gather information to write a POP for my daughter. She also contacted, without informing me, one of the staff that we employ through SDS again , just for a chat. This document has now been written and I have asked to see it but with no response? This cannot be correct procedure surely ?

What is a POP?

You could try making a subject access request.

From the Gov website ## What are personal outcomes?

‘Personal outcomes describe what a person wants to achieve. These are realistic goals that the person receiving care and support, and their care worker or carer can work towards. They are usually based around supporting the individual’s wellbeing.

Outcomes will vary from person to person because they’re about what matters to that individual.’

What worries me is that these personal outcomes can then influence how SDS is used.
Our last set of outcomes stated that my daughter was to live as independent and fulfilled life as possible. That gave us broad use of SDS. I suspect that she is trying to narrow them down.
My daughter can’t speak and so relies on others to do this for her; that is her guardians .
We have full guardianship and no guardian was consulted, which meant really that my daughter has had no voice in this.
It also seems inappropriate that the social worker can approach someone whom my daughter was employing and ask her about my daughter without guardian permission and then use that person’s information to write a POP . So basically my daughter’s life outcomes have been written by a SW who only met her for 5 mins, an employee and no input from her or her guardian.
It was also the sneaky way it was done. When she came to visit myself and my daughter she didn’t say she was writing a POP. She just said she had come to introduce herself. We had a chat and then she used the information from the conversation to write it ? I haven’t been given a copy even though requested?

What does POP stand for? I’ve never heard that abbreviation. I know what personal outcomes are. So does POP stand for Personal Outcome …??.. What’s the last ‘P’?

I don’t understand what the difference is between what you refer to as ‘these personal outcomes’ and the ‘last set of outcomes’ is. As far as I understand from the updated (2022) Statutory Guidance to the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, there is only ‘agreed personal outcomes’. And these are not arbitrarily decided in secret by the local authority, but discussed and agreed with the service user. And yes, they are absolutely critical in determining what you can and can’t spend the money on, but that’s OK because they should reflect the needs, will and preferences of the supported person, just like your old ‘outcomes’.

It seems you are saying that the Local Authority have replaced ‘agreed personal outcomes’ with something secret you can’t see called a ‘POP’? If that’s the case then you are absolutely right. I’m shocked. Doing that is clearly unlawful (in my opinion) and also totally obviously against the Statutory Guidance. The Local Authority (i.e. your social worker) MUST fully involve you and your daughter in the support planning. That’s a no-brainer. Going over your head to the support worker seems very weird to me. The Support Worker would not typically be involved in support planning because they are paid and have a conflict of interest. The ‘just for a chat’ thing is very odd. Are they friends? If the chat is relevant to the support planning, there’s no ‘just’ about it, it becomes part of the formal process it seems to me.

There are quite a few references to agreed personal outcomes in the Statutory Guidance, but here is the main section (p52) I guess:

Guidance on Support planning

The support plan is a key document which is a personalised record of what matters to the supported
person, including their personal outcomes and how these will be met. The person’s strengths, assets,
human rights, existing community supports and funded social care supports are recognised and
included in their support plan.

The social worker’s assessment and the identification of resources are all part of the same process,
which starts with the good conversation and ends in a budgeted support plan and the offer of the four
SDS options.

A supported person may choose to have an unpaid carer, family member, friend or advocate attend
the assessment with them, even if they are not directly involved in providing care. Local authorities
have a legal duty to take into account the views of the carer when assessing the needs of the person
being cared for, as far as that is reasonable and practical. Unpaid carers should also have their
needs acknowledged within their own personal assessment and support plan or young carer statement, if they want one.

The support plan should be developed in line with the statutory principles in Section 1 of the 2013
Act and in line with this Guidance. The plan should cover certain key aspects such as the personal
outcomes which help to shape the plan, the resources (both financial and non-financial) which will
help to meet those outcomes, the choices available to the supported person to arrange their support and all associated information.

There are different requirements for an adult carer support plan or young carer statement, but the
principles are the same: there should remain a requirement to demonstrate a clear link between items
and services purchased and the personal outcomes identified and agreed in an individual’s support plan, adult carer support plan, or young carer statement.

The support plan may be developed in any type of format that the supported person understands, but
it should be framed in such a way that it can be used as a living document. It should focus on what the
person wants to achieve with the right help, rather than simply putting arrangements in place to stop
things from getting any worse.

It should be capable of acting as a reference point for the supported person, the authority, the provider
and, subject to the person‘s wishes, other important individuals in the person‘s life including advocacy
workers. The parties involved should be able to return to the plan, review the plan, add to the plan or
make changes over time.

See the SDS Framework of Standards: Standard 3: A Strengths and Assets Based Approach, and
Standard 4: Meaningful and Measurable Recording Practices.

If you are unhappy with the wording of your agreed personal outcomes, you can challenge it. See:

People should be supported to query and challenge decisions throughout their assessment, support
planning and review processes, including their agreed personal outcomes. (p68)

They can’t keep it a secret from you, and you should have been fully involved in agreeing them anyway. As far as I can tell, agreed personal outcomes are just that, you have to agree. Effectively, both you and the LA have a ‘veto’ I suppose. But if you can’t agree then I guess you can go to court. That’s new territory form me - what happens if you can’t agree on the outcomes.

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Hi Beth, sorry to hear that you find yourself in this position.

Collaboration is at the very heart of good SDS practice, so even if the new social worker was doing some sort of ‘light touch’ review, the main people you would expect them to contact would be your daughter and her guardians. It the process doesn’t get any more transparent and/or you are unhappy with the outcomes, then you should make a complaint to the LA. It should not take a subject access request to get a copy of the paperwork, but you can do this if you need to.

You might be able to access advice and support from your local carers centre, advocacy service and/or SDS advice service: Find Local Information and Support - Self Directed Support Scotland | Self Directed Support Scotland (sdsscotland.org.uk)

You can also get advice from Carers Scotland/UK via their helpline: Helpline and other support | Carers Scotland (carersuk.org)

I hope you get a good resolution without too much added stress.