New Research to Improve Understanding of Self-directed Support

Written by: Naja Bergen Dale , Q-Step Intern, the ALLIANCE

Published: 03/05/2019

Logo saying my support my choice in speech bubble

The ALLIANCE and our partners, Self Directed Support Scotland, want to hear about your experiences of SDS.

I’m currently working at the ALLIANCE as a part time intern, which is part of my Q-Step course at the University of Glasgow: http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/q-step (this link will take you away from our website) .  I am thrilled to be part of a team who will be spending the next few months trying to better understand the lived experiences of people who access Self-directed Support (SDS). The research we are undertaking is a collaboration with Self Directed Support Scotland and aims to learn from people who access social care in order to promote existing good practice and pave the way for future change.

I came to Glasgow from Copenhagen and had heard little of the Scottish social care system before starting at the ALLIANCE.  Already a couple of months in, I have been touched by people’s shared experiences.  I am determined that the research will help politicians, organizations and care providers better understand the complex interactions between people who use social care and the system.

My background is in NGO (Non-Government Organisation) work that supports vulnerable parents and their children. I am passionate about sharing the voices of people’s lived experiences. My interests are in feminist political theory, which devotes much time looking at the intersections between people and the system.  Currently, I am finishing my dissertation which questions the Danish state’s engagement with issues of domestic abuse. My critique is focused around the narratives of individualization and personal responsibility, which I argue inhibit spaces of solidarity.

The ALLIANCE published a report in 2017 (‘Personal Experiences of Self-directed Support’) finding that SDS was not being implemented according to its rights-based values and principles. As a follow up, this research will look specifically at disconnects and assess how SDS is implemented for different groups of people.

I am particularly interested to explore how SDS influences female carers who might be experiencing a harder time accessing the care they need for themselves and their dependents. The ALLIANCE produced a Briefing Paper on women’s experiences of SDS in October 2017.

We have come far with equality, but unpaid care is still predominantly a female role and one that may be subject to more precarious working conditions, if we do not regulate it in the future.

It is extremely valuable for us to hear from people who have applied for SDS and I cannot emphasize enough how much we appreciate the people that share their experiences for this research through our online survey (this link will take you away from our website)

I look forward to seeing everyone’s responses and working with others to present these experiences with the aim of helping to influence the way national legislation and local authorities manage SDS from this point on.

After all, who is better suited to help improve practice than the people engaging with it on a daily basis?


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