The meaning of ‘choice and control’ for people with intellectual disabilities who are planning their social care and support

Williams VJ, Porter SM

Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities 2017, 30, 1: 97—108

Available online 25 Oct 2015


This paper questions consumerist assumptions in current English social care policy and aims to look behind the processes of personalization to interrogate what ‘choice and control’ means in the lives of a diverse group of people with intellectual disabilities.

Data were from multiple interviews and direct practice recordings with nine people using personal budgets and were analysed using an interpretative approach.

Identity, other people and personal budget processes were all important for choice and control. People needed to build confidence in themselves as decision-makers, both through peer support and through joint decisions with trusted others.

Practitioners need to take into account the spectrum of ways in which people may make decisions. Action needs to be taken both at the micro level of support interactions and at the macro level, with a clearer articulation of independent living in policy and strategy for people with intellectual disabilities.