Self-directed support

What is Self Directed Support?

Self Directed Support (SDS) is about putting people in control of the support they need to live the life they choose. It is how health and social care support has been delivered since April 2014 and is underpinned by legislation giving you the right to choose your own care and support. This legislation is Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013.

You can choose care or support in a number of different ways. Needs are assessed in terms of outcomes and goals along with meeting eligibility criteria. This usually begins as a conversation with a social worker.

For example, as an outcome you may want help at home each day with washing, dressing and taking medication. The goal would be to enable you to live at home independently. Through SDS you can choose to arrange this in different ways.

SDS offers four options:

Option 1

is for you, or someone on your behalf to take on responsibility for both the management of your budget and the choice of services. This is known as a direct payment, and usually works by you employing a Personal Assistant or purchasing support from an organisation.

Option 2

is for your local authority or another organisation to take responsibility for financial management of your budget, while you choose what services it is spent on.

Option 3

is for the local authority to arrange a service on your behalf taking on all responsibility for identifying and commissioning services.

Option 4

allows you to mix and match the first three options. For example you could choose a Direct Payment to organise care at home and attend a day centre organised by the local authority under option three.

A list of useful contacts and resources are listed below:

There will be differences in each local authority (Edinburgh and Midlothian).

Please refer to the local authority for the person requiring assessment.

Useful links (Edinburgh and Midlothian)

LCIL The Lothian centre for inclusive living have an independent living team who can provide one-to-one support to manage your own Self Directed Support package including personal assistants. You can reach them on – 0131 475 2350 or through their website. LCIL have compiled a list of private nursing and care providers in Edinburgh and Lothian. This can be provided on request

Self Directed Support Scotland represents organisations run by and for disabled people, their members support thousands of people across Scotland with their social care choices. They have lots of useful information on their website.

Care Sourcer is a comparison and matching site for care.  Anyone can enter their care needs on their website and find care providers who have availability. You can reach them on – 0800 048 8618 or through their website.

The local authority – City of Edinburgh Council

Social Care Direct is the main point of contact for social work. You can reach them on 0131 200 2324 where you can request an assessment for Self Directed Support, Adult carer support plan or ask for a review of your support needs.

Useful links

Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership information on Self Directed Support

Paying for care and financial assessment

Eligibility criteria

Information specifically on direct payments 

For further information on direct payments, you can email: or call the advice line on 0131 469 3334.


Edinburgh Carers Council provide free advocacy for carers supporting someone with mental or physical health difficulties. You can contact them on – 0131 322 8480 or on their website

The local authority – Midlothian Health Care Partnership

Below are the contact details for both Adults and Older People and Children and Families services. If you feel you or the person you care for require support you can get in contact to request an assessment for Self Directed Support, Adult carer support plan or ask for a review of your support needs.

Adult and Social Care


Telephone: 0131 271 3900

Fairfield House
8 Lothian Road
EH22 3AA

Children and Families

Telephone: 0131 271 3413

Midlothian Children and Families Centre
7 Eskdaill Court
EH22 1AG

Useful links

Midlothian Health Care Partnership information on Self Directed Support 

Paying for care and financial assessment


More information around employing Personal Assistants

Advocacy Support