The Scottish Government believes everyone should be in control of their life. Some people need support to lead an independent life and advocacy to be empowered make important decisions about their life.

In order to achieve this the Scottish Government introduced The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013. The Act came into force on 01 April 2014 and places a duty on local authority social work departments to offer people who are eligible for social care a range of choices over how they receive their social care and support.

Self-directed Support allows people, their carers and their families to make informed choices on what their support looks like and how it is delivered, making it possible to meet agreed personal outcomes.

Having more choice and control is empowering. We should all be equal partners in making decisions that affect us. This leads to more of us being confident and independent and achieving our aspirations for a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life.

Support and care have a vital role to play in ensuring everyone can enjoy the same human rights – dignity, equality of opportunity and access. And, having greater control of your life and decision making leads to improved health and wellbeing.

Self-directed Support includes a range of options to ensure everyone can exercise choice and control:

  • a Direct Payment (a cash payment);
  • funding allocated to a provider of your choice (sometimes called an individual service fund, where the council holds the budget but the person is in charge of how it is spent);
  • the council can arrange a service for you; or
  • you can choose a mix of these options for different types of support.

What can you use self-directed support for?

Self-directed Support can be used in many ways. You can get support to live in your own home, such as help with having a bath or getting washed and dressed.

Out of the home it could support you to go to college, to continue in employment or take a job, or to enjoy leisure pursuits more. Instead of relying on the activities run at a day centre, you might arrange for a personal assistant (PA) to help you attend local classes, go swimming, or be a volunteer helping others. It could also be used to provide a short break (respite) or for equipment and temporary adaptations.

You can choose whether you would prefer to get support from a service provider such as a voluntary organisation or care agency, or by employing PA’s, or a combination of both.