Research on Self-directed Support: ‘The Good Self-directed Support Project’

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 5th July 2019

Call for participants to take part in focus groups on people's experiences of SDS.

The Good Self-Directed Support Project (this link will take you away from our website) is a collaboration between the University of Stirling’s Department of Social Policy and Criminology, Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL), Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL), and the National Lottery Community Fund.

For more than 20 years local authorities across the UK have been developing and implementing schemes and support programmes under various names. These include Direct Payments, Cash for Care, Consumer-directed Care, and Self-directed Support (SDS), which have often been categorised as being part the ‘personalisation agenda’. In essence, governments across the world aim to shift the manner in which services are delivered to disabled people who require social care and other support. The object of this is to allow disabled people to participate in daily life in a manner which gives individuals control of the financial aspects and the provision of the services they receive. In the Scottish context Self-directed Support was formally introduced in Scotland on 1st April, 2014, and emanated from the enforcement of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland), Act, 2013. This gives people receiving social care services in Scotland the right to have the choice, control and flexibility, to meet their personal outcomes. In addition, local authorities are legally bound to a duty to ensure that clients are presented with a range of choices with regard to how they receive their social care and support package.

This project is interested in finding out what disabled people think about their support: what works, and what doesn’t; how it could promote genuine independent living and enable more disabled people’s and carers’ lives to be full of choices, opportunities and participation. Furthermore the project would like to learn how much this benefits families, friends, the community and society when disabled people and carers have the right kind of support.

The project aims to:

  • find out what is important to disabled people and those who support them;
  • find out the support they need to live fulfilled lives; support disabled people to be equal citizens, and to fully participate in their local community;
  • improve the way SDS works by asking disabled people, and those who support them, about their experiences and how they think SDS could be improved;
  • To establish the costs and benefits of social care and support for families, the community and wider society.

In order to better understand what good support looks like the project is looking for people who use SDS, or who would like to, and carers for people who use SDS, to participate in some focus groups. These focus groups would be formed of five or six individuals who receive or would like to receive SDS, or indeed individuals who care for a disabled person. These individuals would be invited to chat about their experiences of Self-directed Support for a period of no more than an hour. Participants will be provided with expenses for travel, any personal assistant, advocate and/or interpreter costs. Any information gathered via this process would be very valuable to the project. If you would like to take part please visit the project website (this link will take you away from our website).

If you would like to discuss the research with someone, please contact:

If you wish to speak to someone independent, please contact Professor Alison Bowes (Dean of the faculty of Social Sciences),


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