The aim and implementation of the survey

The Survey of Nordic models and systems for personalised support and service for persons with disabilities started in January 2021. The project is a cooperation between the Nordic Welfare Centre and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL. The project is an activity within the framework of Finland’s 2021 presidency for the Council on Nordic Cooperation on Disability and was conducted during the period 1 January–30 June 2021. The project was led by a steering group with representatives from the Nordic Welfare Centre and THL. The project was funded by THL and carried out as part of the Finnish pilot project with personal budgeting for persons with disabilities. Members of the Council on Nordic Cooperation on Disability contributed actively to the survey.
The aim of the project is to examine whether, and in that case how, models for personalised support in form of a personal budget for support and services may strengthen the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, especially Article 19 on the right to live independently and to be included in the community. The project examines the experience and knowledge of this theme in the Nordic countries.
The Finnish model is planned to be based on the individual’s possibility to choose a personal budget for their support efforts. The size of the budget is determined after an assessment of the individual’s needs for support efforts, after which the individual can choose the provider for support services. International examples of this are Scotland and Australia, where the personal budget is called Direct payment. The individual receives a sum of money to buy the support they need. Other concepts used in the discussion is cash support, systems of choice, individualisation, and vouchers/cheques. Personal budgeting and other similar systems are covered in a later chapter of the report.

Implementation of the survey

The project has been implemented in cooperation with THL and lead by a steering group with representatives from the Nordic Welfare Centre and THL. The Nordic countries have been contacted through the Council on Nordic Cooperation on Disability, which is an advisory body to the Nordic Council of Ministers. The council consists of 16 experts, of which half are experts chosen by the Nordic governments and the other half are representatives for the countries’ disability organisations.
The survey has been carried out as an extensive collection of examples and models:
A query with questions on existing systems and models for personal budget and individualised support was sent to the experts on the Council on Nordic Cooperation on Disability. The questions related, among other things, to regulation, funding, the extent and criteria for receiving support.
Three workshops have been conducted in order to carry out a deeper analysis of the systems and the experience involving them. The first workshop was held together with the Council on Nordic Cooperation on Disability. The second workshop was carried out together with researchers from each Nordic country where especially support and service included in Article 19 was examined. The third and final workshop involved experts on support and service.
A complementary survey has been performed by the Nordic Welfare Centre by analysing many reports and surveys published in the Nordic countries.
Supporting documentation from the preliminary query and the workshops was mainly related to systems for personal assistance, which the majority mention being the primary example on how a personal budget as a model has been implemented in the Nordic countries. Desk research and the final workshop have been aiming at complementing the supporting documentation of existing models.

Limitations of the report

The project has been carried out during a limited period and a deeper analysis of the identified examples on personal budgeting has not been possible.  The definition of systems based on personal budgeting and individualisation has been interpreted in a broad manner to collect as many examples as possible. Also, certain models that do not only relate to persons with disabilities have been included if deemed relevant. The examples given in the survey are models and systems that have been identified within the timeframe of the project. Therefore, likely there are further examples on models and systems within the Nordic countries that have not been included in the project.