Social care - self-directed support: framework of standards - May 2024

This framework consists of a set of standards for local authorities to provide them with an overarching structure, aligned to legislation and statutory guidance, for further implementation of the self-directed support approach to social care. This update includes standard descriptor and practice statement and core components and practice guidance.

Implementing the Framework

The approach to implementing the framework is that of progressive realisation, a concept originating in human rights policy describing the requirement for States to adopt appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures towards the full realisation of human rights. This means that governments must move forward and ensure that human rights are realised over time, through comprehensive and co-ordinated implementation programme and careful monitoring of progress.

In the context of implementation of the Framework, this can include making decisions about which of the core components are a priority in terms of implementation, the resources needed to implement fully across all populations, and developing a comprehensive and iterative plan to deliver on this. The concept of progressive realization fits well with implementation science[2], which shifts the question from: “What can we do with what we have?” to: “What will it take to do what needs to be done?

Each standard within the Framework can be considered individually, but the standards can be grouped in relation to their relevance to different parts of the overall system:

Supported people’s experience:

  • Standard 1 (Independent Support, Community Brokerage and Advocacy)
  • Standard 2 (Early Help, Family Support and Community Support)
  • Standard 10 (Early Planning for Transitions)

Workforce competency:

  • Standard 3 (Strengths- and asset-based assessment, planning and review)
  • Standard 8 (Worker Autonomy)
  • Standard 11(Consistency of Practice)

Organisational systems:

  • Standard 4 (Meaningful and measurable recording practices)
  • Standard 7 (Flexible and Outcome Focused Commissioning)
  • Standard 12(Access to Budgets and Flexibility of Spend)


  • Standard 5 (Accountability)
  • Standard 6 (Risk Enablement)
  • Standard 9 (Transparency)

Each Standard contains:

Standard Descriptor Describes the intention of the standard from the perspective of people.

Practice Statement States what the authority needs to do to in practice in relation to each standard.

Core Components The essential associated elements that are necessary to produce the desired outcome of the standard.

And a new element has been introduced:

‘How to’ statements Set out the issues or factors to take account of while working towards achievement of the core components.

The new approach above is designed to help with the implementation of the standards in practice and will be further aided by the development of a learning-based self-evaluation and improvement toolkit for local and integration authorities.



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