Self-directed Support: Practitioners Guidance

A practice guide on Self-directed Support for practitioners


Photograph of Sandy Riddell, President of Association of Directors of Social Work

Sandy Riddell, President of Association of Directors of Social Work

The Self-Directed Support (Scotland) Act 2013

“to make legislative provisions relating to the arranging of care and support in order to provide a range of choices to individuals as to how they are provided with their support”

Scottish Government

Self-directed support is about assisting individuals who may need support to have maximum choice and control over how this support is planned and provided.

It is a matter of national pride that the principles and values that underpin best practice in this field are to be enshrined in statute. We have a real opportunity in Scotland – at Government, professional, community and individual level – to work together to achieve our ambitions for a quality life for everyone.

We are all challenged by the impact of an economic downturn. Resources are scarce and must be used to best effect. We are all concerned to ensure that the advances in health and social care that have resulted in increased life expectancy are matched with advances in professional practice that ensure living longer means, as far as possible, living well.

This document aims to provide practical guidance and support to practitioners tasked with bringing Self Directed Support legislation and policy objectives into everyday practice. It is at this level of the organisation that transformation in approach is most crucial, backed by necessary supporting IT, resource allocation and financial systems. Every practitioner has a key role and responsibility in the process to provide people who need support with the information and assistance they need to make real choices. These practitioners, in turn, need to be empowered by their organisation to shift control within the system towards people who need our support. It is this change in organisational practice and culture that will be most challenging in the context of our changing relationship with key partners.

The new Act provides a framework for transparency and clarity in how partnership and collaborative practices can be effective in supporting practitioners to work creatively and resourcefully. It is the natural policy progression from ‘Changing Lives’ (2006) which stated,

“tomorrow’s solutions will need to engage people as active participants, delivering accessible, responsive services of the highest quality and promoting wellbeing.”

It is a policy position supported by the direction of the Christie Commission Report. Most importantly, it is what we would want for ourselves and our loved ones. There can be no better affirmation of the value of this approach.

Sandy Riddell, President of ADSW


Email: Heather Palmer

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