Self-directed support, Scotland, 2016-17

Report on the third year of implementation.

This document is part of a collection

2. Implementation of Self-directed Support

2.1 Implementation Rate

The 2017 Social Care Survey asked Local Authorities to return information on all clients who made a choice regarding their services or support at any time during the 2016-17 financial year. The key criterion for inclusion is that the client was given a choice – an individual should only be included if they have undergone an assessment during which the available SDS options were explained. Under this definition, 83,768 people were identified as having made a choice regarding their services or support during 2016-17, a 57% increase on the 53,319 clients reported in 2015-16.

Previous publications have attempted to estimate a national implementation rate for SDS. This was previously calculated as the proportion of all clients in the Social Care Survey flagged as fitting the SDS criteria described above. However, this figure is likely to be a gross underestimate of the true SDS implementation rate as the Social Care Survey includes many people for whom SDS is not appropriate. For example, 11% of people in the Social Care Survey have a social worker but do not receive any social care services and as such would not be in a position to make a choice.

The methodology for calculating the national implementation rate has been refined to use a denominator that better reflects the number of people for whom a choice should have been available. It should be noted that there are still limitations to this calculation. For example, clients receiving reablement and/or crisis care support may not be able to make a choice regarding their services or support but cannot currently be excluded from the denominator.

The implementation rate provides an indicative value only and does not represent a target. The scope of the Social Care Survey will vary across Local Authorities due to differences in population need and service provision. It is expected that the SDS implementation rate will continue to rise in future years, however this will not necessarily reach a complete 100% for reasons already covered. Furthermore, implementation rates at the Local Authority level will vary according to when the Local Authority started offering SDS and the speed of the phased roll-out that was deemed appropriate to that area.

With the above in mind, the estimated national implementation rate of SDS across Scotland in 2016-17 is 70%. Figure 1 shows how this rate varies across different Local Authorities. Local Authorities with known data recording issues (see Section 2.2) are highlighted in a lighter shade. Due to the discussed changes in the methodology used, it is not appropriate to compare this rate to previous years. However, the figure using the previous methodology would have been 39%. Each bar in Figure 1 includes a darker and lighter shaded proportion which visualises how the new methodology compares to the previous methodology, in particular, the extent to which the previous methodology underestimated the roll out of SDS.

Figure 1: Variation in SDS implementation rates by Local Authority, 2016-17

Figure 1: Variation in SDS implementation rates by Local Authority, 2016-17

Shetland Islands and West Dunbartonshire were not able to return data for all SDS Options

2.2 SDS Options Recording

Changes in data recording systems were necessary to capture SDS information, a process which has taken time to complete. Consequently, not all Local Authorities are able yet to record information for the separate SDS options. In particular, Option 3 can be difficult for Local Authorities to record accurately as choosing this option during a review may mean that the individual concerned is carrying on with existing services and not all systems are currently able to report on this. In 2014-15, 22 Local Authorities were able to report on all SDS options. This has increased to 30 local authorites in 2016-17. More detail is given below.

All Local Authorities were able to return SDS Option 1 information, reflecting the fact that data on Direct Payments have been collected since 2001. All Local Authorities were also able to return SDS Option 2 data this year, though Dumfries & Galloway had no such clients. Shetland Islands and West Dunbartonshire were unable to return information on SDS Option 3 data.

The impact of this on the overall figures is estimated to be small, with these two Local Authorities accounting for only 2% of all clients in the Social Care Survey. However, it does mean that the observed total number of clients who made a choice regarding their services and support – and the national implementation rate – is an underestimate of the true position.

The 30 Local Authorities with complete SDS option reporting account for 99.8% (83,604) of the original client total. If the 2016-17 SDS implementation rate is estimated on the basis of these Authorities only, then a value of 71% is obtained. This is considered to be the best available estimate for the national implementation rate, as it accounts for known recording issues.

The main analysis in this report will focus only on those 30 Local Authorities with complete SDS options data. This means that aggregate-level figures are not skewed by data recording issues and will therefore more accurately reflect the Scotland-level picture. It is expected that continued improvements to Local Authority recording systems will occur in the following years and this will lead to full data being returned for all Local Authorities.


Back to top