Our Self-directed Support team review activities over 2018 for our annual report.
This year there has been a renewed emphasis on SDS at a national level as the end of the 2010-20 strategy draws near. To set the scene, the ‘Data under Development’ statistics on Self-directed Support, released in July, indicated that 70 per cent of people have been given choice and control. This suggests that SDS is beginning to be the main delivery mechanism for social care. However, the continued over-reliance on Option 3, and disparity in funding levels between the options, indicate that the increase in choice and control espoused by public bodies may not reflect growing diversification of support in Scotland.
The above was borne out in the ALLIANCE’s report into ‘Personal Experiences of SDS’ released last year and following publication of our research, we launched a series of briefing papers looking at the experiences of children, young people and families, people over the age of 65 and women who access SDS. Across all demographics, the ALLIANCE found there was an inequality in their experiences of getting and managing their SDS budgets. As the ALLIANCE begins the next round of research into people’s experiences of SDS, which we are doing in collaboration with Self Directed Support Scotland, we hope to facilitate more opportunities to unpack the restrictions and limitations of SDS as a mechanism for enabling people to meet their daily needs and outcomes and realise their rights.
Based on our research findings, the ALLIANCE gave evidence to the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee (the Committee) alongside representatives from the Third Sector and Health and Social Care Partnerships. The Committee’s most pressing issues were directed towards the approach taken by local authorities’ frontline staff and their leadership. In identifying the disparities between different local authorities roll-out of SDS, there is a tendency by some to be more prescriptive than others over how budgets can be used. The ALLIANCE supported the Committee’s suggestion that the Scottish Government should consider its role in encouraging greater leadership in implementing the intentions of the SDS Act and highlighted the role of the third sector in providing an independent report on the state of SDS roll-out throughout Scotland.
In 2018-19 the ALLIANCE and MECOPP (the Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project) are partnering to deliver the ‘SDS Masterclass Series’– four events looking at different aspects of Self-directed Support. The ALLIANCE’s first Masterclass focused on the experiences of young people who access social care, transitioning between child and adult services. Following presentations from Scott Read (ARC Scotland), Willie Rutherglen (fSDC), and Ryan and Julie Cuzen (Young person and parent), delegates were asked to think of ideas that could inform the Scottish Government’s strategies on SDS and on transitions. Among the suggestions proposed, delegates highlighted the need for coordinated transition planning, universal guidelines, and incorporation of young people’s and parents’ views into future strategies on SDS and transitions.