Self-Directed Support (SDS) legislation is intended to give people more choice and control over the support which they require to live independently.
Underpinning SDS is The Social Care (self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, which will be referred to here as the SDS Act and the SDS Act’s statutory guidance. The SDS Act and statutory (legal) guidance applies to all adults, children, young carers and adult carers in Scotland.
Everyone has a right to request an assessment of their care and support needs by their local authority.
Each local authority in Scotland has its own assessment criteria which you will have to meet in order to be eligible for support via SDS. Where you do not meet these criteria, your local authority still has a responsibility to assist you to identify other types of support which may be available to you.
Assessments should focus on your ‘outcomes’. An outcome might be that you want to get to your place of work to do your job. The assessment should look at what support you would need to meet this outcome, eg. support getting up, washed and dressed.
The SDS Act also puts a duty on local authorities to direct people to independent advice and support in relation to all aspects of SDS. LCiL’s Independent Living Service is funded by the local authorities in the Lothians, and the Scottish Government, to provide this support.
The Independent Living Service can provide you with information about requesting and preparing for an SDS assessment, advice on SDS options and, if you have an SDS option in place, ongoing practical support to manage your care and support budget.
LCiL’s peer support service also offers workshops and peer support sessions at issues related to SDS options, your right to assessment and more.
The SDS options
If your local authority assesses that you are eligible for care and support, they have a duty to offer you four options for how your support is arranged.
They will also assess whether you have the ability to manage a direct payment (option 1). There may also be limited availability of other options.
The four SDS options are:
Option 1 is a direct payment, which gives you the most choice and control over your care and support. It also comes with more responsibilities. You are allocated a budget and given the funds to purchase support to meet your assessed outcomes. This could include, but is not limited to, purchasing support from a care provider or directly employing your own Personal Assistants.
Option 2 is an Individual Service Fund (ISF). You are involved in the selection of the support but the local authority manages the financial aspect of the funding or financial management is provided by a third-party.
Option 3 is a direct service. This means you ask the local authority to select and arrange the support for you. The support may be provided by the Council or they may subcontract to another support provider.
Option 4 is simply a combination of any of the three options above. For example, you could have a direct service (option 3) from the local authority for regular morning visits to assist with personal care and then a direct payment (option 1) to employ a Personal Assistant to assist you with a range of tasks throughout the day.