Self-directed Support review of 2017

Section: Health and Social Care IntegrationType: News Item Date Published: 5th January 2018

Our Self-directed Support team review activities over 2017 for our annual report.

In 2017 the ALLIANCE undertook a significant research project and published the report, ‘Personal Experiences of Self-directed Support’, exploring the impact of Self-directed Support (SDS) on the lives of people who access social care in Scotland. This was the culmination of a 3-month research study involving over 100 participants through an online survey and one-to-one interviews. Our key findings from this research include:

  • Around 70 per cent of respondents indicate they are informed about SDS, while 30 per cent indicate they know little or nothing about SDS.
  • 36 per cent of respondents have discussed SDS with a local advice centre but 27 per cent did not know they had a local advice centre.
  • The majority of respondents (82 per cent) have discussed SDS with a social worker, however 14 per cent have not and 4 per cent are unsure.
  • The vast majority of respondents on options 1 and 2 indicate that this was their preferred choice. However, over 40 per cent of respondents on option 3 indicate this was not their preferred choice.
  • 51 per cent of respondents state that the amount of hours they are given in their SDS package is not sufficient to meet their needs for each day, and 14 per cent are unsure.
  • Generally, for those who were in receipt of social care before SDS, satisfaction increased after its introduction (22 per cent increase in those who are ‘very satisfied’ and ‘satisfied’). However, after SDS had been introduced, the most dissatisfied people were on option 3.

Following its publication, the ALLIANCE sought to look in greater depth at three key demographics of respondents to our research. It was our aim to gain a better understanding of how women, children, and people over 65 engage with and experience the SDS process. Our hope is that is the contribution we make adds to a growing body of evidence to help improve SDS policy and practice.

In August, Audit Scotland published their Self-directed Support Progress Update report highlighting the inconsistencies in the implementation of SDS across Scotland. Given the breadth of data gathered recently, the ALLIANCE jointly held an event with Audit Scotland to inform and discuss with members the key findings. Through hearing about the learning of the research and from people with experience of SDS, attendees of the event were invited to consider the implications for future research. There was a thought that because the SDS guidance is open to interpretation it is difficult to compare practise across different local authorities, especially regarding the number of people on each option as a higher proportion in a local authority may not be a true representation of how each option is being presented to people accessing Self-directed Support. There needs to be a systematic way of evaluating experiences across the 32 local authorities to find out how practice compares between local authorities.

Finally, towards the end of the year, the ALLIANCE was invited to give evidence to the Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny committee at the Scottish Parliament. The committee had recently posed a request for suggestions on legislation requiring review. Following our submission, encouraging consideration of the Self-directed Support legislation based on our recent research on personal experiences of SDS, the ALLIANCE was invited to discuss three key issues; information provision, workforce, and removing barriers. Our representation on the committee increased their understanding of the qualitative evidence that demonstrates the positive impact of SDS on people’s lives but also the limitations of its implementation on achieving people’s independence and outcomes.


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