What is Person Centred Planning?

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Where does the idea of Person-centered Planning come from? 

Person Centred Planning is built on the values of inclusion. It looks at what support a person needs to be included and involved in their community. It was first developed in the 1980s as a way to enable children and adults to move out of special placements in schools or hospitals and back into the community and mainstream life with the support they need to do this successfully. 

This short animation made by The Council for Disabled Children and the Department for Education explains more about The EHC Plan and Person Centred Planning. 

What does Person Centred Planning aim to do?

A person-centered approach offers an alternative to a type of planning based on a medical model of disability. This is set up to assess needs, allocate services, and make decisions for people. Instead of this person-centred planning is based on the social model of disability. It aims to empower people who access specialist services by handing power and control back to them by:

  • Putting child or young person and parent-carers at the heart of the process
  • Highlighting the child or young person’s strengths and interests
  • Taking a ‘tell us once’ approach to families sharing information with control of what’s shared and with whom.
  • Listening and responding to the importance of the child or young person's views, wishes, and aspirations
  • Focusing on what outcomes (goals) families and young people want for their futures.
  • Collaboratively plan the support needed to achieve these goals.
  • Ensure education, health, and social services, and professionals work together to discuss and agree on an overall approach
  • Give families, children, and young people better choices and control over their futures.

Help for children, young people, and families understand to understand and take part. in the process

Service providers and people working with families should ensure that parents, children and young people are genuinely involved in all aspects of planning and decision-making. This approach helps:

  • develop better understandings
  • build positive relationships
  • increased levels of confidence
  • leads to better participation

The process should be:

  • easy for children, young people, and their parents or carers to understand,
  • use clear ordinary language and images rather than professional jargon.
  • highlight the strengths and capabilities of the child or young person
  • support the child or young person to say what they do well, what they are interested in, and what they want to do in the future.

Top Tips Guide and other resources to support children and young people's participation

Parents and professionals who are involved in supporting disabled children and young people to fully take part in planning can find a Top Tips Guide here (PDF). This has been co-developed with disabled children and young people.

It can seem very different to think in this way when you first start but it is worth it. Information sheets and resources are available in the download section of this page. 


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Page last modified: 10/10/2023