What is self-directed support?

Self-directed support (SDS) allows people to choose how their support is provided, and gives them as much control as they want of their individual budget. Put simply, SDS is the support a person purchases or arranges, to meet agreed health and social care outcomes. SDS includes a number of options for getting support. The person's individual (or personal) budget can be:

  • Taken as a direct payment (cash payment).
  • Allocated to a provider the individual chooses (sometimes called an individual service fund, where the council or funder holds the budget, but the person is in charge of how it is spent).
  • Or the council can arrange a service.
Individuals can choose a mixture of all three for different types of support.

I think DP's are being stopped in our area. Can this happen?

They shouldn't be. But the way of calculating the amount may be changing.

Who can access SDS?

In Scotland, under the current law, people can have a direct payment where they are assessed as needing a community care service. There are a few exclusions. People who are eligible for support, for their social care or health and social care, can direct their own support. There are some limited circumstances, where SDS and your council will be able to tell you about these.

I thought SDS was only for disabled adults. Is this true?

It isn't. Children in need of support, older people - who need social support - can access SDS.

How can it benefit me?

Self-directed support is not for everyone and many people are completely satisfied with receiving services that are arranged by their local authority. However there a lot of people who could really benefit from having choice and control over the support they receive, such as having support staff visit them at times of their choosing or enjoying the consistency of care that can come from employing your own personal assistants or even the flexibility to use your budget to purchase services that meet your needs more creatively and individually than the services provided by the local authority. To find out more about the benefits of SDS read the Scottish Government's 2007 review of Self-directed Support.

Can Guardians or Attorneys request or receive SDS?

Yes. These persons can consent on behalf of someone, if the client evidently lacks capacity. The council would have to conclude, in it's assessment, that the person with assessed needs has, after every attempt to support them, no capacity to make a decision to receive Self-directed Support.

How do I get SDS?

If you already get support, your next review of your support plan should give you time to think about SDS. If you don't already get support, get in touch with your local council to ask about the support you may be eligible for.

How am I assessed for SDS - what is the process?

As part of the assessment, or review, of your support needs you will be asked to think about the outcomes that are important to you. This might be through completing a supported self-assessment or self evaluation questionnaire. You will have a discussion about whether you can manage SDS and what kind of support you need to do this. You must have arrangements in place to manage the paperwork, either alone or with help. Help is available through your local support service. You will also need to satisfy the council that the support you intend to buy will meet your agreed outcomes. For disabled children, the council must be satisfied that the services bought will safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. In addition if you plan to employ staff, you will need to show that you will meet your legal requirements as an employer.

Our SDS Support

How do we support with SDS?