Social care - self-directed support: national framework - learning review

As part of the development of a national framework for self-directed support, Social Work Scotland commissioned a small-scale learning review to map the approach taken by the self-directed support team and bring together the learning from throughout the project.


1. The National Self-directed Support Strategy 2010-2020 was a joint Scottish Government and COSLA 10-year plan dedicated to driving forward the personalisation of social care in Scotland. In the first phase of the strategy from 2010-2012, information was developed to promote understanding of self-directed support (SDS). The second phase from 2012-2016 focused upon development of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, guidance and supporting innovation.

2. The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 came into force in Scotland on 1 April 2014 with the aim of providing children and adults with more choice and control over how their social care needs are met. The Act gives local authorities the power to extend self-directed support to carers following a carer's assessment meaning carers will be able to choose from the same range of options provided to other people accessing social care services. The Act placed duties on local authorities to provide options to allow individuals to choose how much involvement they want in the organisation and design of their care and support.

3. By 2019, it was widely acknowledged that implementation of SDS was variable across Scotland. In response to this, Scottish Government launched a Self-directed Support Implementation Plan for 2019-2021. The plan set out the actions that public and voluntary organisations would take to support authorities to build on their progress towards more flexible and responsive social care support, co-produced with communities and supported people. The plan also set out that Social Work Scotland as the professional leadership body for the social work and social care professions would work with local authorities and senior decision makers to design and test a framework of practice for SDS across Scotland. The work was to be taken forward in the context of the Reform of Adult Social Care programme launched by the Cabinet Secretary in June 2019.

4. It should be acknowledged that in March 2020, the Westminster and Scottish Governments announced measures to restrict the spread of coronavirus. The impact on society was considerable, but more so for services delivering to children, adults and their families already facing significant challenge. Universal, statutory and third sector services were required to respond almost overnight to continue to meet the needs of families and ensure that children and young people remained safe and well.

5. Alongside these developments and in order to learn from experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic, the First Minister announced on 1 September 2020 that there would be an Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland as part of its Programme for Government. The principal aim of the review was to recommend improvements to adult social care in Scotland, primarily in terms of the outcomes achieved by and with people who use services, their carers and families, and those working in adult social care. The review reported in March 2021.



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