Choice and control is what people using care and support services need and want. They want care and support that fits into their lives and is relevant to them.

Recognising this, the Scottish Parliament passed the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act in 2013. That Act gave a legislative framework to enable what is in effect, good social work practice: find out what matters to people and find a way to help them achieve it.

This legislation represented a fundamental shift in practice and the infrastructure around the commissioning of social work and social care services.

Social Work Scotland has had a project looking at self-directed support since 2013. Initially the focus of our project was to write guidance to support the Act; then the focus shifted to supporting implementation through providing training and self-evaluation guidance; then to supporting SDS leads in local authorities get together and share good practice; and last year we began looking at the blocks getting in the way of us realising the full potential of this progressive legislation.

Our current project has a number of elements:

  • Looking at the success stories across Scottish local authorities: what has worked well and writing that up in a way that can be shared;
  • Setting out guidance on commissioning and procuring in a person centred way;


Jane Kellock Head of Social Work Strategy and Development