15 THE GUIDANCE DOCUMENT AS A WHOLE
15.1 The consultation invited respondents to give their views on, for example, whether there are any gaps in the guidance or whether any major changes are needed.
15.2 Respondents were also asked for any comments on the style and layout of the guidance, or the language used in the guidance. A majority of comments made were very specific comments, suggestions or queries about wording, omissions or additions; most of which have already been covered in earlier chapters of this report.
Question 13: Do you have any further general comments on the guidance?
15.3 Sixty-five respondents commented on this question with several welcoming the opportunity to respond to the consultation and/or voicing their commitment to the implementation of self-directed support. Most of the themes that emerged from the general comments question were similar to comments noted earlier. The main themes are outlined below.
Layout and style:
- Document is seen as lengthy and complicated; there were some suggestions that it should be shortened by moving some of the current content, such as practice examples, to appendices.
- For the professional audiences, the guidance was perceived to be largely comprehensive and easy to read.
- Despite some comments that the document as it stands is too long, there were requests for additional case studies to be included throughout the guidance.
- There were some queries as to which audiences this guidance is meant for, with some assumptions that it is purely for a professional audience, and others that it is for all audiences.
- Regardless of who the guidance should be aimed at, many respondents felt the guidance as it stands is not relevant to service users, with a number commenting that the language used is inappropriate and not accessible to service users.
- A number of respondents noted that the guidance does not go far enough in terms of providing an explanation of how the wording within the 2013 Act should be interpreted and how it should be put into practice.
- There were also some perceptions that the guidance focuses on social care, while largely ignoring Health and there were requests for the guidance to better reflect the integration of health and social care services, with a duty on Health in the same way as there is on social care.
- While there was broad support for the principles of inclusivity, there were some comments that this guidance is too adult-focused.
- There were also some calls for reference to carers throughout, rather than simply being in one section of the guidance. There was also a request for the guidance to include detail on employing family carers.
- There were a small number of comments that this guidance focuses too narrowly on specific groups of individuals such as the disabled, while not focusing enough on some other groups such as those with mental health issues, invisible and visible disabilities, those with dementia and so on.
- A number of respondents also noted the need to ensure that there is greater consideration of the broad legislative context, so that the guidance links not only to other relevant legislation but also to other relevant strategies, standards and codes of practice. Additionally, to ensure the guidance is up-to-date in relation to the integration of health and social care.
- There were also concerns over the need for users of direct payments or their carers to have an understanding of what it entails to be an employer. While the guidance is not expected to provide full details of employment legislation, there is a need for links to documentation that clearly explains about issues such as being an employer, how to obtain a PVG check and so on.
- Another theme to emerge in the general comments was on timings; respondents wanted to see more detail on timings within the document.
- In relation to the roll-out of SDS, there were calls for this to be gradual and a query as to when the finalised guidance will be available. There was some concern that the proposed publication date is too close to the implementation date.
Email: Aileen McIntosh
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