Person-centred planning

This page tells you what person-centred planning is, how it works, why it’s important and who’s involved.

It also explains how person-centred planning helps make sure your care and support is right for you and will keep you safe, well and happy, now and throughout your life.

On this page

What is person-centred planning and who is involved?

Person-centred planning means putting your needs, views and feelings at the centre of planning your care and support.

It helps everyone involved listen to you and understand and respect what’s important to you and how you want to live your life.

Decisions about your life are made with you, not for you.

Person-centred planning means the professionals involved in planning your future learn from you before they start thinking about services that might be suitable. They can then fit the services to you rather than the other way round.

Who’s involved in person-centred planning?

  • You, of course. You are the most important person involved in planning your life.
  • Your parents or other close family members who know you best.
  • Close friends or other family members who know you and your family well.
  • Healthcare, social care and educational professionals who already support you.

Involving different people, of different ages and backgrounds, is useful because they’ll know different things and have different skills.

For example, some people might know more about services and be better at dealing with people in official positions. Other people might know more about using technology to communicate and solve problems.

Also, other people might become lifelong support for you. 

This could range from keeping in contact with you and keeping an eye on things, to being an advocate or a trustee for a discretionary trust.

Whoever is involved in your life planning, it’s important that they:

  • Make sure you lead as much as possible by choosing who you want to plan with, where and when.
  • Let you do it at your speed with plenty of time for you to understand and process information.
  • Use your way of communicating. This might include drawings, pictures, photographs and other media.
  • Make sure you have access to all the information you need to make decisions.
  • Think about the environment – for example, perhaps you find it easier to listen and concentrate in certain conditions.
  • Make sure any discussion is with you, not directed at you or about you as if you weren’t there.
  • Allow you time to think about what you want for the future.
  • Support you to say what you think – it might not be what they expect.

Why is person-centred planning important?

Person-centred planning is important because:

  • You are at the centre of the planning that takes place. You’re not having to fit around services on offer. It gives you a voice, it offers you choice and control over your life.
  • Your family and friends who know you well are involved and can support your planning.
  • It can help to shape a care and support plan and help to get funding for services.
  • It shows what’s important to you now and in the future, and shapes care and support around this.
  • It can bring new opportunities.
  • It can help to find solutions to challenges you face.
  • It involves you in your community.
  • It means things can change the way you want them to, not just once, but over many years.
  • It helps to keep you safe, well and happy through your life.

How does person-centred planning work?

Person-centred planning tells people about you. Things like what makes you feel happy or unhappy, who you like or don’t, and why, and what motivates you.

Here are some questions that can help you plan:

  • Who is important to you?
  • What is important for you?
  • What makes a good day or a bad day?
  • What helps to make you feel safe and well?
  • What does the best support look like?
  • What is working?
  • What is not working?
  • How do you prefer to be referred to? (she/her, him/his, they/them)
  • How does your ethnicity, religion or culture affect your support needs?
  • What are your hopes and wishes for the future?

What happens if you find it difficult to plan and make decisions?

Usually, a person becomes legally able to make decisions when they turn 16.

But some people have difficulty doing this. If this is the case, then the Mental Capacity Act may apply.

The Mental Capacity Act lays out what should happen if you are 16 years old or above and struggle to make decision about your own life. These decisions could be either big or small. They might be about where to live or about what to wear.

Find out more about how the Mental Capacity Act works.

This content was last reviewed in April 2022. We’ll review it again next year.