Ambition 1: Support services that promote independent living, meet needs and work together to enable a life of choices, opportunities and participation
We know that receiving the right social care for each individual is important and necessary for disabled people. Of the total number of people receiving social care support, there has been an increase in the number involved in choosing and controlling their support through Self-directed Support options. The statistics for 2018/19 estimate that nearly four out of five people (79.4%) were involved in choosing and controlling their support through self-directed support options (based on circumstances where people have a choice).
To support work on social care a People-led Policy Panel was established. The People-led Policy Panel is made up of a diverse group of people who all have lived experience of adult social care support, including unpaid carers. The members have experience of different kinds of social care support for different purposes and represent a geographical spread across Scotland. The Panel has been working with the Scottish Government to co-produce priorities, work streams and activities for the reform programme, looking at views and evidence from many people about what social care support is like now, what it should be like in the future, and what needs to change to achieve that. The Panel's role is to work with national government, COSLA and other organisations and individuals in the early development and testing of policies. It is one of the ways of making sure that the views, experiences and expertise of people who use social care support are at the heart of decisions that are made. The Panel also works with other existing citizen-led groups to get more detailed insights on specific perspectives or issues.
Recognising the dramatically changed situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the First Minister commissioned the Independent Review on Adult Social Care. Published in February 2021, the Review found many aspects of the adult social care system that are worthy of celebration, such as the introduction of Self-directed Support, the Carer's Act, and our commitment in legislation to integrate health and social care. It also highlighted the gaps between our policy intentions and implementation on the ground. There are some immediate actions the Scottish Government is taking to secure improvement for individuals and the wider social care sector. This Government fully supports the Review's recommendations, particularly those that relate to human rights being at the heart of social care, investing in the workforce and better rights and support for carers. It will now be for the next Parliament and Government to set out the plans for their full implementation.
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) Transition Fund opened in late 2017 and from late 2019 the upper age limit of the Fund was extended from age 21 years to age 25 years. The number of applications continues to grow. The Fund has become a major provider of transition planning across Scotland, especially for those who have been unable to access support from local authorities and other public bodies during the pandemic. ILF Scotland continues to deliver the following:
1. The ILF Transition Fund has made nearly 3500 grants to date averaging over £2,000 each. Per annum expenditure of this Fund is at £3.5 million, with growth in 2021/22 expected to reach £5 million.
2. ILF Scotland also continues to support 2200 severely disabled people inherited from the UK scheme at its closure in 2015. Awards made directly to disabled people through this ongoing Fund total £43 million per annum.
In 2016, the Scottish Government funded a survey of families with disabled children and young people across Scotland to gather evidence about their information needs. Families said they would favour a centralised resource which signposts relevant information and organisations. The Scottish Government responded to this ask, developing an online resource to Support Disabled Children, Young People and their Families which launched in 2019. The site is rights based and was developed through a process of co-design and co-production. The online resource provides clear, accessible information on national policies, entitlements, rights and the provision of various forms of support which may be available to disabled children, young people and their families. The guides to policies, legislation and service provision are interspersed with examples of real life stories to showcase best practice.
The Scottish Strategy for Autism: outcomes and priorities 2018-2021, published in March 2018 set out priorities for action through to 2021 to improve outcomes for autistic people living in Scotland. The Scottish Government engaged with autistic people, their families and carers and those with a professional interest on the development of the strategy's final phase. The priorities included reflected the issues raised during engagement as well as including the views of members of the Scottish Strategy for Autism Governance Group.
The keys to life, Scotland's learning disability strategy was published in 2013 and in 2019 the Scottish Government published the keys to life Implementation Framework 2019-21. At the heart of this framework is a commitment that recognises that people with learning disabilities have the same aspirations and expectations as everyone else and who want to play a full part in their communities across Scotland.