What is Self Directed Support?

Self Directed Support (or SDS for short) is a way to access social care support. SDS gives individuals eligible for social care support, the opportunity to take more control over their personal budget and how it is spent giving them more choice and flexibility over the support they receive. In addition, SDS provides individuals eligible for social care services the opportunity to ask the Local Authority to arrange and manage the social care support on their behalf.

How can SDS help the person I support?

The main benefit of SDS is providing the person you support with choice, control and the flexibility to live a life which incorporates support tailored to their individual needs. This flexibility can allow the person you support to choose which support suits them as well as where and when they would wish to access this support. SDS can be used to purchase a wide range of services, dependant on current needs and goals, examples of this can include:-

  • In home care and support such as shopping, help with paying bills and personal care
  • Support to attend further education, training or volunteering, with a view to finding employment
  • Help and assistance with activities outwith the home such as social or cultural activities
  • Short breaks
  • Purchasing specialist equipment
  • Employing a personal assistant to help access activities.

What are the options available to the person I support for SDS?

There are four options available as follows:-

Option 1 - Taken as a Direct Payment (a cash payment)

The Local Authority will decide whether the needs and outcomes of the person you support can be met by a Direct Payment. If eligible, the person will be given cash in lieu of services which can be used to employ their own staff, buy support services from a care organisation or the local council or a mixture of both. Within this option the individual you support is afforded the highest level of choice and control as well as the responsibility for arranging, managing and paying for services/support.
A carer can assist the supported person to manage their budget. If the carer is intending to manage the direct payment entirely or has requested the direct payment on behalf of the supported person, the carer requires the appropriate legal permission to do so, e.g. power of attorney or financial guardianship.

If the supported person would like the carer to attend any of the meetings e.g. needs assessment, support plan etc, the carer can do so. 

Option 2 – The individual you support directs their support but has the Local Authority arrange and manage it on their behalf

The council or funder holds the budget but the person is in charge of how it is spent (this is sometimes called an individual service fund). The person you support is advised as to how much the budget is and chooses who provides their support and when and where this support is provided (e.g in the community in afternoons). The Local Authority then organises and pays for the support on the individual’s behalf. This money can remain with the Local Authority or can be transferred to a care organisation to hold and use for the individual.

Within option 2, a person cannot employ their own staff, although is still afforded the choice and control as to who they wish to support them, tailored to their needs.

Each local authority makes their own decisions regarding administration charges within this option. Please contact your local authority for further information.

Option 3 – The individual asks the Local Authority to choose, arrange and manage their support

The council selects, arranges and manages the support they feel will best meet the individual’s needs and outcomes following a conversation with the individual. The council must ensure that support services can offer different kinds of support and arrange to meet the needs of each individual person.

Option 4 – the final option allows the person you support to choose a mixture of the other options.

This will result in access to different types of support.

When will SDS come into effect and how will the implementation effect individuals who are already receiving services?
Self Directed Support has been implemented across Scotland with effect from 1st April 2014. This will directly impact on individuals who are new into the system and requiring support. For existing individuals, this will occur retrospectively, e.g. Local Authorities will prioritise individuals who are new into social and health services and will roll this out with existing individuals over time. It has been estimated that this may take years to complete, so this may not directly affect the person you support for some time.

For further information, please visit the website at http://www.selfdirectedsupportscotland.org.uk/directing-your-own-support