Self-directed Support in Scotland


Welcome to the Scottish Government's Self-directed Support (SDS) website.


This is a one-stop-shop for information about Self-directed Support for people who use social care services and health and social care professionals.


Summary of Project Evaluations

 1. Ayrshire Independent Living Network

Project Aim:

A designated team of Self-directed Support (SDS) staff within the network will work together to ensure that they are providing individuals with relevant, up to date information on SDS. They will introduce a payroll workshop for people new to SDS and will introduce a payroll workshop for people new to SDS and for existing customers who require extra support. They will also make their information available electronically for individuals who prefer to receive information this way, develop peer support mechanisms and develop their ways of working so they are better placed to provide support to older people with dementia.

Document: Customer Survey Report (2014)

Report of survey questionnaire responses from AiLN customers. Includes service user profile, breakdown of services used and satisfaction rates.

Key Points:

  • Most used and valued services were those which supported employers of PAs (eg payroll, tax, PVG) and third party banking.
  • Younger respondents disproportionately represented in sample (70% under 64 yrs).
  • Mainly longer term service users (27% been with AiLN less than 2 years) in receipt of DPs/ILF (10% of participants were SDS recipients), however the report is dated April 2014 and therefore does not show the impact of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013.

Useful Information:

AiLN offers a wide range of services to support independent living and the report may provide other organisations with ideas or suggestions for development.

 2. Children in Scotland

Aim of Project:

To create a model for implementing Self-directed Support (SDS) at local (school community) level principally in two community planning partnership areas and use the learning to establish a model that can be shared nationally across Scotland. Building information and support hubs around school and early years communities to support statutory, voluntary and independent providers to enable children and their families to exercise choice and control over their use of SDS at all points in their childhood and adolescence, including transition to adulthood. Establish the model as part of existing statutory services to sustain the work with the goal of identifying champions in each local authority area to consider and utilise the learning from this work to support scaling up of learning as well as sustainability.

Document: 'I want the same as you', 2015

Report on Children in Scotland’s research with children, young people and families on what makes for an effective independent information and support service for accessing SDS.

Key Points:

  • Comprehensive report on consultations with young people and parents/carers and survey responses. Contains rich discussion and strong focus on participant perspectives.
  • Highlights gaps in services and information in relation to SDS.
  • Suggests 10 guiding principles for independent information and support for children and young people and their families.

Useful Information:

This report will be beneficial to organisations seeking to provide effective SDS information and support to children, young people and parents/carers as it provides useful background information and insight into the particular requirements and service gaps in relation to this group.

The guiding principles and supporting recommendations would assist in the development, provision and evaluation of services for this group, and could also be applied more broadly.

The appendices contain detailed information about the ways in which the consultations were carried out which may be useful to organisations wishing to undertake research with user groups.

 3. Community Brokerage Network

Aim of Project:

To deliver and develop support brokerage for people in East Ayrshire, to influence on-going learning and development across the country. The project will: i) improve access to support and information about Self-directed Support (SDS) for more people and their carers, ii) increase opportunities for genuine choice and control for people, iii) improve joint, collaborative and transparent working for SDS, iv) improve coproduction and increase the knowledge and understanding in relation to support brokerage. Creative ways will be explored to deliver on Option 2, continuing with on-going development of best practice, ensuring access to information and support, seeking national accreditation and pushing the boundaries and power balance between professionals and people with budgets, to facilitate maximum control, flexibility and better outcomes for people.

Document: 'Making it clear', August 2014

Evaluation of independent brokerage pilot in East Ayrshire.

Key Points:

  • Draws on various sources (e.g focus groups, stakeholder interviews and documents) to report achievement of organisation’s outcomes and additional impact. 

 4.  Encompass

Aim of Project:

This Self-directed Support (SDS) project will provide support to individuals, carers and providers to develop practical solutions for SDS to meet personal outcomes and find solutions to poor take up of SDS in mental health. The project will raise awareness of SDS and Personal Assistant work in local communities and demonstrate the difference it can make to people’s lives. It will support clients to tell their stories and become volunteers for peer support or become champions and raise awareness of SDS in Health and the support available from Independent Support Organisations. The work will also support young people through the transition process to enable them to live more independently in their communities and become good employers with the right support.

Document: 'Bringing the Pieces Together', March 2015

Evaluation of the role of Encompass in providing independent support to people organising their own support.

Key Points:

  • Importance of flexible, individual and on-going support.
  • Value of local knowledge and contacts (e.g. finding PAs, arranging cover, connecting users, pooling resources).
  • Range of support provided includes practical/functional (e.g. payroll, recruitment, etc.) and interpersonal skills (e.g. mediating, managing relationships).
  • PA database and support for PAs and employers.

Useful Information:

Includes detailed case studies which describe the range and flexibility of support provided throughout the process to enable people to use DPs.

The report suggests that people often require more intensive individual support than anticipated, particularly if they do not have personal support networks or impairment affects decision making, and this is illustrated in the case studies and discussion. These may provide useful resources for other organisations looking to review/develop services, inspire creative solutions and provoke 

 5. Growbiz

Document: November, 2015

Review and evaluation of community-based enterprise support organisation in Perthshire.

Key Points:

  • Brief introduction to The Perthshire Care and Wellbeing Co-operative, which brings together individual businesses (eg carers, therapists, welfare advisors) to provide affordable support packages for individuals in their own community.

 6. Out of the Box

Document: 'Permission to Dream', 2015.

Findings from a series of events which brought people together to share ideas and experiences about making SDS work for people with mental health problems.

Key Points:

  • It can be difficult for people with mental health problems to ‘dream’ about what a better life could look like.
  • Importance of user defined outcomes, and services being open-minded about the wider impact on people’s lives.
  • Success achieved by working together (eg care managers, health services, peers, friends and family).

Useful Information:

Includes rich discussion of participants feedback, identifies barriers, and provides practical advice and suggestions for service users, practitioners, managers and commissioners. There are also real examples of good practice and creative solutions from various organisations.

This report would be of interest to anyone involved in SDS for people with mental health problems as it provides insight into the potential challenges for this group, together with practical advice and creative solutions.

 7. Pilotlight: Ageing well with Self-directed Support

Document: April, 2016

Learning and resources from co-designed project in East Renfrewshire, exploring opportunities for creative planning with older people.

Key Points:

  • Value of collaborative working and community knowledge and networks in designing creative support plans and addressing barriers to older people's participation;
  • Co-design team of people who use and deliver services have created a set of resources to assist support planning.

Useful Information:

The Pilotlight website contains a range of on-line tools and resources which would be particularly useful to anyone with an interest in older people and community engagement, asset mapping, community networks, and co-design.

The resources could also be applied more broadly and may be valuable to organisations and practitioners working with other service user groups.

Useful links:

Key learning points:

Inkwell portraits:

Community asset map:

Community connecting: ABCD

Transport solutions:

SDS checklist:

Easy steps to Option 2:

 8. Practitioner Engagement

Document: Occupational Therapists working in Local Authority Social Services, February 2016.

Report on OT engagement events.

 9. SCLD

Document: 'Progress in Personalisation', March 2016

Evaluation of performance improvement resource for service providers.

Key Points:

  • 'Progress in Personalisation' is a framework to help service providers measure their progress towards delivering personalised support.
  • Early feedback on the usefulness of the framework suggests that organisations felt there were benefits to using the resource, but would prefer an online tool.

Useful Information:

 Guidance notes and paper copies of the framework are available to download from the SCLD website. These may be useful to service providers who wish to understand and measure their organisation’s effectiveness in providing personalised services.

Useful links:  

 10. Simon Community Scotland

Document: Self-directed Support in Homelessness.

Report on Simon Community's research with people who use or work in homelessness services across Glasgow to find out if and how SDS could work in the sector.

Key Points:

  • Different expectations exist between service users and providers and there are lots of myths and a lack of information about SDS within the sector.
  • Service users preferred to receive information about SDS face to face so they could ask questions, and valued peer support. They did not want to receive information online.
  • Currently there is little or no choice in homelessness services and people may require particular support to make decisions (eg managing risk, timing and delays, changing circumstances).
  • The principles underpinning SDS need to be embedded across services, not just in health and social care.
  • Peer support, user involvement and tailored individual support throughout the SDS process were seen as key to success.
  • Value in organisations working together and learning from each other.

Useful Information:

Using creative approaches, mixed methods research, and training peer volunteers contributed towa5rds effective engagement with people in different aspects of homelessness (e.g. rough sleeping, criminal justice etc.). Similar approaches may be effective in undertaking research or collaborative work with other difficult to access groups, and the methodology and fieldwork section of the report may be of interest to organisations working in other sectors.




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