The connection between ‘Rights’ and ‘Choice’


How can you make an informed choice and be in control of your life when you don’t understand what your choices are?

Let’s imagine you’re visiting a friend for dinner, and at the end of the meal, they get their box of ‘Celebrations’ out. (Apologies for the English chocolate reference if you are reading from a different part of the world where these are not available….Celebrations are a box of chocolates with a random selection of miniature varieties of chocolate bars).

The box is already open and it appears that there are only two options left- the ‘Bounty’ sweets and the ‘Milky Way’ sweets.

You really want some chocolate and neither of those brands would be your favourite. But because that’s all you have to choose from, you go with a ‘Milky Way’. Sound familiar?

Now imagine a different scenario where you visit your friend for dinner and they bring out a brand new unopened box- with all of the different varieties to choose from. Would you still choose the ‘Milky Way’?

I know I wouldn’t!! (It would either be a ‘Galaxy’ or a ‘Teasers’ sweet for me).

When one or two options are the only choice you’re given, that’s what you’ll choose from. You might not even think that you have a choice! Maybe you have been told that there isn’t a choice and you should be grateful for what you’re being offered!

What happens when you have the whole range of brands available? Would your choice be different? Probably!

It’s the same with choosing care and support options for planning, arranging and implementing Health, Social Care and Welfare support. Many people are only told about one or two options at the point of assessment. Some people aren’t told that they have a choice at all – they are simply told what they can have.

This simply isn’t right. The Care Act 2014 outlines the range of options available to a person who has been assessed as eligible for support.

So often, people aren’t made aware of their rights when accessing Care and Support.

So how do we help people to make informed choices?

  • We need to have a universal source of clear and accessible information in a range of formats (Browesaloud websites, Easy Read information, Graphic/visual format, video etc) which explains the options for planning and arranging Care and Support. This should be available consistently nationwide, regardless of where you live and which local authority is funding your support
  • Information, Advice and Guidance/signposting services should be universally accessible in community-based citizen services (such as Citizens Advice Bureaus, community hubs etc) with guidance workers who understand health and social care processes, policy and the wider welfare provision well
  • The Health and Social Care workforce needs to have legally literate practitioners (those who are on the front line, engaging with people at the time they are making choices) who are up-to-date with the latest Case Law developments and can clearly guide people in understanding their options
  • People accessing Health & Social care support should be made aware of and be able to exercise the opportunity (and right) to have someone independent (such as a Support Broker) assisting them in navigating the process, understanding their options and making informed decisions so that they feel they are receiving genuinely unbiased information in order to make informed decisions
  • All front line workers should have the right training and knowledge to be able to support genuine choice and control. The training and baseline knowledge requirements should be embedded within guidance to ensure consistency on a national level

Are you interested in finding out more?

Imagineer offers a range of training & mentoring services to support the knowledge and practice development of practitioners; and also to help people to know and understand their rights.

Visit our training pages which can be found under the menu heading ‘What We Do’ for further details; and subscribe to our mailing list to be kept up to date with what we’re doing.

Further reading:

To keep up to date with case law and to improve your legal literacy in the area of Health & Social Care law, visit:

Luke Clements website

Cascaidr Website

About us:

Trainer, Support Broker and Community Consultant Liz Leach-Murphy Founder of Imagineer Development CiC
Liz Leach Murphy

Liz Leach Murphy is the Founder of Imagineer Development UK CIC, Chair of the National Brokerage Network and a Freelance Consultant working on personalisation within the Health and Social Care sector/community space

Sarah Holmes

Sarah Holmes is a Freelance Consultant working on personalisation within the Health and Social Care sector/community space; and a Director of Imagineer Development UK CIC

Both Liz and Sarah are practitioners, trainers and coaches in Independent Support Brokerage and consultancy for Strengths-Based Approaches with collectively over 40 years of experience in the Health and Social care and community sectors.

Imagineer Development UK CIC is a social enterprise based in the North of England with a national reach; originally set up as a test bed for Independent Support Brokerage in the UK. Imagineer is the hosting organisation for the National Brokerage Network, which is a community of practice for Independent Support Brokers. Imagineer provides a range of training & consultancy services in Support Brokerage, Person-Centred and Strengths-Based Approaches.

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