The Scottish Commission for People With Learning Disabilities have helped us by making an Easy Read version of the draft SDS standards. If you would like to tell us what you think of the standards, please download the Word document from the link below, and type your answers in the spaces provided, then send it to us at sds.team@socialworkscotland.org 

Click here to download the Self-directed Support draft Standards easy read version (MS Word format)

If you require any assistance to complete this, or if you would prefer to talk to a member of the SDS Project team about your comments, please contact us at sds.team@socialworkscotland.org 

Self-Directed Support Project

The Scottish health and social care system is currently under review through the Independent Review of Adult Social Care as it moves towards an integrated, person-centred, rights-based approach to Social Care. 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. 

The recently published Promisedeveloped from the findings from the Independent Review of Care from a Children and Familieperspective also acknowledges that people need more choice and control over their supports.  

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. 


It is widely acknowledged that the implementation of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 has been variable across Scotland.  The Adult Social Care Reform Programme and more recently, the Independent Review of Adult Social Care, seek to redress this. 

The Self-directed Support Project Team, funded by Scottish Government and hosted by Social Work Scotland are developing a National SDS Framework to help to reduce this inconsistency. This framework consists of a set of standards, helpful tools and resources, and a set of action statements which demonstrate what good SDS looks like, building on the Change Map, 2019.This framework should assist local authorities with their ongoing implementation of SDS. 

The draft standards have been developed, drawing on national research and effective evidenced-based practice, in consultation with key stakeholders (local authorities, national partner organisations and supported people). These standards were presented and noted at the COSLA Health and Social Care Board in October.  

For more information on the development of the framework and to see the draft proposed standards, please click here (October 2020) (PDF), and click here to see a list of our SDS project partners.

Consultation with Local Authorities 

The team has written to all Chief Executives, Chief Social Work Officers and Chief Officers requesting the completion of a consultation asking local authorities how easy or difficult it will be for them to implement the draft SDS Standards.  

The questions posed test three assumptions that underpin the draft SDS standards, and focus not on ‘what can we do with the resources we currently have?’ but ‘what will it take to do what needs to be done’ to implement the standards.  

The three assumptions involve: 

  1. taking a strengths-based, asset-based approach to assessment support planning and review processes 
  2. focusing on community supports  
  3. systems and processes being aligned to SDS values and principles  

We asked that one questionnaire is completed and returned from each local authority, covering both Adults and Children and Families services. The closing date for this consultation was 8 January 2020, and we received a very good level of response, with 25 responses being received from 22 Local Authorities.  

A ‘Call for Comment’

For staff or anyone else who would like to comment on the standards, another engagement was held concurrently to the local authority consultation.  We asked  people to provide their opinions on the SDS standards and to share any helpful ideas they may have around how to implement them, at a local or national level.   This engagement attracted 32 responses. 

The Findings 

The findings from both of these consultations are being used to inform the future development of the national framework for SDS and to inform the team’s contribution into the Independent Review of Adult Social Care.  

Next Steps  

Between now and March 2021 the team will facilitate the development of the action statements, outlining what needs to happen to implement the standards. Workstreams have been set up to undertake this work, involving national partners, supported people and local authority representation. Both the standards and action statements will be presented at the COSLA Health and Social Care Board meeting in March 2021. 

If you have any questions, queries or suggestions, please contact the team at sds.team@socialworkscotland.org  


Jane Kellock Head of Social Work Strategy and Development jane.kellock@socialworkscotland.org