Positive behaviour support

Challenging behaviour can arise for different reasons, often personal to the individual.

Positive behavioural support (PBS) is the best way of supporting people who display, or are at risk of displaying, behaviour which challenges services. 

It’s important that social care workers have the right skills and knowledge to support people who might challenge services and we have tools that can help.

What is positive behavioural support?

The foundation of PBS is to understand why an individual exhibits challenging behaviour, and address the issues that trigger the behaviour.

PBS is a way of:

  • understanding behaviours that challenge
  • assessing the broad social and physical context in which the behaviour occurs
  • planning and implementing ways of supporting the person which enhance quality of life for both the person themselves and their carers.

It’s based on the values of recognising each person’s individuality and their human rights, a rejection of aversive and restrictive practices, and an acceptance that behaviours which challenge develop to serve an important function for people. 

Evidence shows that prevention and reduction of challenging behaviour happens when there is support which:

  • increases the individual’s quality of life, inclusion and participation
  • defends and supports valued social roles
  • uses principles and procedures from behaviour analysis to assess and support behaviour change and other complementary, evidence-based approaches.

The process of PBS is based on data and analysis, using functional assessment to plan interventions to change and manage behaviour. To put PBS into practice requires:

  • the right values in both individuals and systems
  • meaningful participation from the individuals using the service
  • time to complete the process
  • staff training and good practice management
  • on-going monitoring and evaluation.

The Centre for the Advancement of PBS at BILD have created an animation that gives an overview of PBS and how PBS approaches work in practice when supporting an individual.

The UK PBS competence framework provides a detailed framework of the things that you need to know and the things that you need to do when delivering best practice PBS to persons with intellectual disabilities and behaviours that challenge.

The PBS competency framework was published in May 2015 by the PBS Academy, a collective of individuals and organisations promoting PBS in the UK.

In conjunction with Imaginarium Seed and in support of the Winterbourne View Joint Improvement Programme, we produced four films to show some of the issues, difficulties and benefits of supporting adults with learning disabilities who can display behaviour that challenges in their communities.




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