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Personalisation in health and social care

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Personalisation is a government-led national policy to ensure that everyone who uses support should have the choice and control to shape their lives and the services they receive. Across the UK, personalisation is also described as self-directed care or citizen-directed support. This 50-hour course provides a broad grounding in personalisation relevant to wherever you live but study materials tend to rely on policy development and the implementation of personalisation in England. The course is intended to be studied by all sorts of people; service users, carers, people who are employed as either health care or social care assistants – groups that might termed ‘paraprofessionals’ and also qualified professionals like nurses, social workers and general medical practitioners (GPs).

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What you will study

The course will examine various basic aspects of personalisation. The course will provide a grounding in the culture and ways of thinking that are required to implement whatever local arrangements exist for personalisation. As different local authorities will be introducing personalisation in different ways – particularly regarding the bureaucratic aspects in each locality – this course does not cover this kind of detail.

The course will cover:

  • Understanding personalisation: the historical background.
  • Working together for personalisation.
  • Outcomes-based thinking.
  • Personalisation, vulnerability and adult protection.
  • Workforce.
  • Personalisation and co-production.
  • The future of personalisation.

You will learn

The aim of this course is to introduce a broad audience to the fundamental principles and concepts surrounding the personalisation of health and social care services.

You will develop an understanding of:

  • the origins and development of personalisation
  • some of the tensions that have existed between professionals and service users over time
  • some of the barriers to working together for personalisation
  • the development of direct payments and personal budgets as the primary mechanisms of personalisation
  • what is meant by outcomes-based approaches to services
  • the impact on services users, carers and professionals of an outcomes-focused approach
  • identifying the perceived and actual risks associated with personalisation
  • describe the current and proposed approaches to ensure that these risks are mitigated
  • the broad relationships between demography and the broad structure of the care workforce
  • some of the role changes in the workforce that the personalisation agenda poses
  • the way in which personalisation has been linked to the concept of co-production
  • what ‘social capital’ is thought to contribute to individual success and health and well-being.

The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes. It requires no more than 50 hours of your time in total, over whatever period suits you. But the learning is far richer than more expensive one- to three-day workshops. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:

  • The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the protected course website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
  • The learning activities are there to help you to think about personalisation, and if and how it makes sense to you in your work or personal life.
  • A number of activities refer to your ‘learning log’. This is simply a document you keep on your own PC in which you keep your notes and reflections. This might be helpful to you if you are doing the course as continuing professional development.
  • Statement of completion for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your continuing professional development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (N.B. The course does not carry academic credit points.)


Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some experience in the field and the course assumes some familiarity with issues in adult health and social care.

For each course you can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace. You will need to successfully complete a quiz at the end of the course in order to print out your statement of completion.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to talk to the Student Registration and Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure you look at our website.

Study materials

What's included

All learning materials, exercises, study support and the learning activities are delivered entirely online.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Glasby, J & Littlechild, R Direct Payments and Personal budgets: Putting Personalisation into Practice, Policy Press £18.99 - ISBN 9781847423177

Learner support

Support is available via the library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

Professional recognition

Successful completion of the end of course quiz enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing a Statement of Completion that you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

Students also studied

Students who studied this course also studied at some time:

About this course:
Course code GK096
Credit points This is a non-credit bearing course.

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