Should a Circle Facilitator be a paid role?

This is a project I am involved in – piloting this in Kent. The support that Circles can offer a family is amazing.

Community Circles

Screenshot 2014-02-17 09.33.17 There is much discussion around this subject.  Some feel strongly that anyone facilitating a circle should be paid but others feel that this may mean some families missing out on this valuable resource, and don’t feel comfortable with the issue of payment.

The pro’s and con’s of paid and unpaid facilitators were discussed in Circles of Support and Personalisation by Helen Sanderson and Max Neill, and here is a summary of some of the issues.

When the facilitator is unpaid:


  • Cheaper – no cost.
  • Closeness of facilitator to person.
  • Avoids some conflicts of interest.
  • Unselfinterested motivation of facilitator.


  • Family and person feel beholden to facilitator.
  • Feeling of obligation to repay the facilitator in other ways.
  • What happens when facilitator gets another job, moves away?
  • Other conflicts of interest
  • If facilitator is also a main carer, ends up with two jobs – both providing support and…

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