Focus on the Individual: Person Centred Planning

This accredited Level 6 course examines how a person centred plan is implemented, facilitated and evaluated. It explores the organisational structures and changes required to support a person centred service that is focused on individualised supports and care. The eight-week programme, which blends online learning with intensive workshops, has a strong practical bias. It:

  • Provides a clear step-by-step process for creating a Person Centred Plan (PCP) for the person you support
  • Encourages critical thinking/reflection about your role, the challenges you face and the organisational issues you encounter

Who Is This Course For?

The course is aimed at first-line personnel whose role involves:

  • Facilitating person centred plans with people using the service; and/or
  • Performing a supervisory role within an organisation that supports PCP

At a Glance

  • Audience Care Workers, Health Care & Personal Assistants, Family or Home Support Workers, Community Care Workers
  • Award Certificate in Focus on the Individual: Person Centred Planning (6N14541)
  • Award Type QQI HET Minor
  • Level on NFQ 6 (15 Credits)
  • FormatBlended
  • Fees€395
  • ApplySept 4th, 2019
  • Introductory eLearning ModuleSept. 9th, 2019
  • Start DateSept. 16th, 2019
  • WorkshopSept. 23rd, 2019 (OTC Offices, Goatstown)
  • Duration8 weeks
  • Assignment Due DateNov. 15th, 2019

Proceed to Application Centre

It is ideal for a practitioner with a social studies/care/community development qualification who would like to:

  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of this area
  • Critically reflect upon their role as a practitioner
  • Obtain academic recognition

Course Details

Learning Objectives

After completing this course you should be able to:

  • Discuss the origins, key concepts and philosophical framework underpinning person centred planning (PCP)
  • Explore the steps involved in PCP – including:
    • Discovery
    • Facilitating a circle of support planning meeting
    • Action planning
  • Evaluate your own progress in developing the essential skills and techniques of an effective PCP facilitator
  • Critically discuss the PCP process as a management and quality of service question including examining:
    • Various approaches to management change
    • The role of leadership in the positive implementation of the PCP process
    • How the PCP process can be used as a quality measure for service users


Unit 1: Person Centred Planning: The Context

  • The Service System
  • Service System Models
    • Traditional Service Model
    • O’Brien’s Basic Strategy
    • Customer-Driven Model
  • Exploring Values
  • Five Valued Experiences & Service Accomplishments
  • The Concept of Inclusion
  • Circle of Friends
  • The Concept of Giftedness
  • Empowerment
  • Self-Determination & Advocacy
  • Service Brokerage

Unit 2: Person Centred Planning: The Principles

  • Planning – Essential Features
  • Kolb’s Planning/Learning Cycle
  • Person Centred Planning – Key Features

Unit 3: Person Centred Planning: The Steps

  • The PCP Process – Overview
  • Phase 1: Discovering the Person
  • Phase 2: Capacity Searching & Safeguards Search
  • Phase 3: Vision Making: Images of Desirable Futures
  • Phase 4: Circles of Support
  • Phase 5: Constructive Actions
  • Phase 6: Reflection & Learning

Unit 4: Person Centred Planning: Skills & Techniques

  • The Facilitator – Roles & Skills
  • Facilitating Groups
  • Problem Solving, Negotiating & Resolving Conflict – Methods, Approaches & Challenges
  • Managing Time
  • Managing Change
  • Developing Creative Skills
  • Acting as a Coach
    • PCP & Leadership
    • Managing Creative Tension
    • Teams, Partnership & Collaboration

Unit 5: Person Centred Planning: The Wider Organisation

  • Organisations & Person Centred Planning
  • Systems, Loops & Service Deficits
  • Organisational Quality & Personal Outcomes
  • Personal Outcomes & Measures
  • Personal Outcomes & the 5 Valued Experiences


Successful completion of the course is dependent on undertaking a series of assessments. These involve:

  • Completing a practical project (2,500 words) that ties together your learning and professional practice
  • Critically reflecting on how the course has change your perceptions of your role
  • Participating in an online discussion with a learning community made up of fellow practitioners and tutors

Taking the Course

The course uses a ‘blended’ approach which combines online learning, virtual tutorials and  one face to face workshop. Our online learning materials are explicitly designed to accommodate the pressures that come with trying to balance work, life and learning. They make it possible to build study time around your work schedule. These are accessible through our learning centre which provides a platform for you to study, collaborate and communicate with your fellow learners. Regular online tutorials will expand your knowledge of the topic and answer any questions you have as you study. The workshop focuses on extending your understanding of the subject matter and helping you apply it in your working practice. The one-day session will be led by a subject matter expert who also has extensive experience in providing coaching/training to people working in the human services and non-profit sector.

Discussion, collaboration and the sharing of experiences are actively encouraged in order for the workshop to achieve one of its primary goals:

  • Facilitating the application of knowledge and skills acquired during the course to address real world challenges in a practical and effective manner.

Underpinning all of this is our learning community. This is made up of tutors who have extensive first-line experience, learning support staff who understand the human challenges people can face when attending college and our learners who are defined by their commitment to supporting each other. We believe this creates a learning experience that is unique to the Open Training College, one that meets the specific requirements of people working in our sector and improves the quality of service our users receive. This is known as the Supported Open Learning Model. You can read more about it here.

The Learning Experience

The Tutor’s View – Ciara Maye

What changes do you see in people as the course progresses?

Initially people can be hesitant and doubt their own capacity to implement PCP for an individual they support but during the course you can clearly see people develop their capacity to deal with this. Developing competence helps confidence to grow too and at the end of the course you can see people are committed to a process that can lead to better lives for the people they support.

How do you think service users benefit?

Services users can expect a move away from a one size fits all approach, and a recognition of their own right to be fully involved in decisions about their life, toward a life that is more of their own choosing, with more of what is important to them as an individual in the same way that we all want to live our lives.

More generally, what motivated you to become a tutor in the first place?

I am passionate about the work that I do every day as a clinician. As a college tutor I can share my practical experience with others and hopefully inspire them in their work. It is exciting to be part of another person’s learning!

The Student View – Orla Howard – CRC

I have become much more aware of PCP and have a greater knowledge of the subject since completing this course and intend to incorporate this into my everyday work.


The course is certified by QQI as a Higher Education and Training (HET) Level 6 Award. Successful participants will obtain a component certificate in:

  • Focus on the Individual: Person Centred Planning (15 credits) (6N14541)

Next Steps

Dates & Duration

The next course starts on September 16th, 2019.

  • Application Deadline: Wednesday, September 4th, 2019
  • Online Introductory Module: w/e September 9th, 2019
  • One-day workshop:  Monday, September 23rd, 2019,
  • Workshop Location: OTC offices, Willowfield Park, Goatstown, Dublin 14.

The course runs for 8 weeks and ends with the submission of an assignment by Friday, November 15th, 2019.


The course costs €395 to attend.

Booking a Place

Apply  by visiting our Online Application Centre.

How Can We Help?

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