Self-directed Support: A Guide for Carers

A guide for Carers who are looking after someone who gets support from the local council.

Self-directed support options

Everyone who needs support will be offered the same four options for how the support will be given to them. This is how you can choose your own support.

This part of the guide explains what each of these options are. The Council will give you a more detailed description of each of the options including how they apply to your own individual circumstances. Your carers' centre or carer support worker will also be able to help you think about the options.

Option 1 is usually called a direct payment. The individual budget is a cash payment and will be paid into your bank account and used to pay for the services required. This money can be used to employ support workers or buy services from organisations. If you want to have a lot of control over the service you get, option 1 is for you.

Option 2 is when the money is held by the Council or another organisation, but you are in charge of how the money is spent. This is sometimes called an individual budget or an individual service fund. If you want to have some choice in what kind of service you get but do not want to arrange the service yourself, option 2 is for you.

Option 3 is when the individual budget is held by the Council and they arrange the support for you. If you do not want to choose your own support and are happy with everything being organised and provided by the Council, Option 3 is for you.

Option 4 is a mix of any of the above options. If you want to choose some of your support but have other parts arranged for you, option 4 is for you.

Children and young people

Most of the information in this guide is also applicable to young carers and children and young people who are being cared for. However, there are other things that also need to be considered for children and young people who are getting support.

Where there is a concern for a child's wellbeing, such as because they are a young carer, have a disability or long-term condition, or a difficult family life, a Child's Plan must be prepared. The principles of Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) means that every child or young person who gets support from more than one organisation (such as the NHS, the Council, and their school) will have one plan that sets out all their support.

GIRFEC is a Scottish Government approach to supporting children and their families. It makes sure that everyone who is involved in supporting the family works together to make sure that the family are supported in the best possible way.

This means that as young carers and young people who are cared for get older, and move from children's services to adult services, they will be able to have more responsibility for their own support, become more independent and have more of a say in their future.

If you are a young carer, the parent or guardian of a young carer, or caring for a child or young person, the Council will let you know about the Child's Plan that is being prepared for you or the person you are looking after, and you will have a chance to talk about the kind of support you want for yourself or for the child that you look after. It will be very similar to an assessment (see page 7 for information about assessments) in that it will be like a conversation about needs, risks and outcomes.

Children who are aged under 16 are not able to get self-directed support in their own right. A parent or guardian can manage the support on the child's behalf, if they are able to do so. There is more information for each specific option in the sections of this guide that look at self-directed support options.


Email: Heather Palmer

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