Self-Directed Support

The Scottish health and social care system is currently experiencing significant change as it moves towards an integrated and person-centred model of service provision. Self-directed Support (SDS) is a key driver of this change as it provides important legal rights for people to exercise greater choice and control over how their assessed needs are met.

This Scottish Government project, hosted by Social Work Scotland, has funding in place up until March 2021. The project funding supports four posts: a Development Manager, two Project Officers and a Project Administrator.

Four key areas have been identified by Scottish Government as critical to the next stage of the Self-directed Support implementation, and these form the basis for the project:

  • Senior decision makers and systems create the culture and conditions for choice and control of social care support
  • Workers enable and empower people to make informed decisions about their social care support
  • Workers in all aspects of the delivery of social care support exercise the appropriate values, skills, knowledge and confidence
  • People have choice and control of their social care support

In the course of the project, it will be necessary to agree a nuanced and detailed description of each of these statement to ensure that we are working towards consistent and achievable expectations.

Project Deliverables:

The Project Team, working closely with Scottish Government, local authority, voluntary sector and other relevant partners, and making use of Social Work Scotland’s extensive networks (including Chief Social Work Officers), will lead a range of activities designed to give renewed impetus to SDS implementation. The project team will be supported by the Head of Strategy and Development and other SWS staff, and will link with local SDS leads and other key officers from across Scotland on the following:

  1. A shared framework model offering a detailed, coherent and systematic map for the delivery of Self-directed Support. This will firmly link existing written guidance to professional practice on the ground. It is anticipated that the framework will include consideration of resource allocation systems, models of assessment and delegation of decision-making.
  2. Engaging with local leadership and SDS leads in order to actively facilitate the sharing of knowledge and good practice across local partnerships;
  3. Development of effective approaches to creative commissioning at a local level along with national third sector partners.
  4. Support to assist local implementers to personalise their processes and systems drawing on existing local expertise and insight from implementation best practice.

We believe that local partnerships have made concerted and significant efforts to implement SDS and have delivered important beneficial changes for individuals in local communities. But to realise the intention and ambition of the project, a further boost in implementation capacity is needed, mandated through the Adult Social Care Reform Programme.


Jane Kellock Head of Social Work Strategy and Development