Self-directed support

The Social Care (Self-directed support) (Scotland) Act became law from April 2014. It gives people more choice about the services they receive and how they are provided.

The Act requires local authorities to offer individuals who need support a ‘sliding scale’ of four options as to how they would like to direct their payments. Local authorities have a duty to offer the carer the same options for their support as are provided to service users. The Self-directed Support statutory guidance reinforces this message and sets out how support to carers can prevent crisis.

What does the Act mean for carers?

The Act introduces a new power for local authorities to support carers in their caring role through direct payments. It also sets out to make it easier for people to use direct payments to employ relatives

Four options of self-directed support

The Bill requires local authorities to offer individuals who require support a ‘sliding scale’ of four options as to how they would like to direct their support.

These include:

1. Direct payment

The person receives the sum of money into their bank account so they can purchase and commission support as a private individual.

2. Individual Service Fund

The person selects the support they want and the Local Authority manages the individual budget. Typically people are informed of the amount of money or resource which can remain with the local authority or with a provider to hold and distribute under the person’s direction.

3. Direct Service

The local authority selects the appropriate support in consultation with the person who requires support and commissions the services on their behalf.

4. Combination of eligible options

The person can select a combination of eligible options, recognising that some people might want a ‘mix and match’ approach to ensure maximum flexibility.

For more information about the Bill visit the Self-Directed Support Scotland website.

Money matters surgeries

For advice on benefits and other financial matters, book an appointment at one of VOCAL’s free Money Matters surgeries.

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