Self Directed Support

The Self Directed Support Bill was officially published by the Scottish Parliament on 1st March 2012. We will keep you up to date with the Bill’s passage through parliament in our news section.  The Scottish Government has introduced the Bill to change the law on direct payments and make a new law about self directed support. Its purpose is to lay the foundations for Self Directed Support to become a mainstream choice for people receiving care and to make it clear that it is the individual’s choice as to how much control they want to have. The Bill aims to give people a range of options for how their social care is delivered, beyond just direct payments.

The theory and detail being debated in parliament is that Self Directed Support will allow the people who receive care to be in charge of their support and live life as they choose.

The principles of Self Directed Support are based on the shared understanding that the people who need support are the best people to know what they need to improve their life – it allows you to have control over identifying your needs, designing what you need to have in place to improve your life, and allows you to decide how to purchase your support.

The process of getting Self Directed Support varies between local authorities but generally there are a few stages that are the same:

  • You outline what you think you need
  • Your personal budget is worked out
  • you work out how best to spend your money,
  • Once your budget has been agreed by your local authority then you will have a choice about how you would like to manage it
  • Then it’s up to you to live your life by using the money to help you achieve the outcomes you identified in your support plan and within the rules your local authority may have in place

Self Directed Support includes a number of options for getting support. Your personal budget can be:

  • taken as a Direct Payment (a cash payment)
  • or the council can arrange a service chosen by you
  • allocated to a provider of  your choosing (sometimes called an individual service fund) where the council or funder, holds the budget, but you are in charge of how it is spent
  • or you can choose a mix of these options for  different types of support.

Currently councils are only required to offer the first option, Direct Payments, but many councils in Scotland offer all the options.

What can you use Self Directed Support for?

Self-Directed Support can be used in many ways.

It could support you in college or in employment,  or to enjoy leisure pursuits more. Instead of relying on the activities run at a day centre, you might arrange for a personal assistant to help you attend local classes, go swimming, or go to the cinema in the evening. It could also be used to provide a respite break. You might use it to get support to live in your own home, such as help with having a bath or getting washed and dressed.

You can choose whether you would prefer to get support from a service provider such as a voluntary organisation or care agency, or by employing PAs, or a combination of both.

It is worthy of note, however,  that more than 100,000 Scots of all ages already receive social care and support (people who have a physical disability, the elderly and infirm, people who have a learning disability, sensory impairment, dementia, mental health problem, autism and a range of long-term conditions) – but possibly many more need it. Local Councils are strapped for cash and Social Services budgets particularly have been severely pruned across the board – it will be interesting to see how Self Directed Support will be implemented, and just who will benefit.

Further information by following the links:
Last edit 16-Oct-12.