Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013: statutory guidance

Update of statutory guidance originally published in 2014 which retains some of what was in the original guidance but has some important differences.


Section 4: Roles and Responsibilities

There are a wide range of people, organisations and authority functions with responsibilities concerning the assessment of needs or the provision of SDS. The supported person's voice and wishes must be at the centre of all conversations and decision-making about their support, taking into account relevant factors such as their disability, age and the potential for another person to assist them, for example to help meet communication and accessibility needs.

Authorities should therefore consider how their functions relating to social care provision work together to facilitate the key stages in a supported person's pathway from initial contact through to the provision and review of support.

Authorities should also take steps to provide the relevant training, support and processes each function needs to be able to take a person-centred and human rights-based approach to fulfilling the duties described in the 2013 Act.

Below is a table of the main roles and responsibilities for those who may be involved in decisions related to the supported person's journey toward achieving their outcomes, bearing in mind that there may be local differences in the way that authorities define their own functions and responsibilities.

Role

The supported person

Responsibilities

The supported person should be assisted – if assistance is needed – to play an active part at the centre of the assessment and support planning process. They should be supported to take as active a role as they wish to take in all of the key decisions about their support. This will include any decisions about initial eligibility or access to support, together with the planning, costing and provision of that support. The supported person may also be an unpaid carer receiving carer support.

Role

The unpaid carer

Responsibilities

The unpaid carer provides care and support to a family member or friend, and may be an adult or a child. They may provide a wealth of information, expertise and guidance. Carers may be guardians or attorneys for the individuals they support, or friends helping them to access the statutory support they need.

Carers are entitled to an adult carer support plan or young carer statement in order to identify their own needs for support. Carers are also entitled to have their views taken into account when authorities assess the needs of the cared-for person, including when and how to provide services to the cared-for person.

The relevant authority should ensure that carers are aware of these rights. See also the Carers' charter.[42]

Role

Social worker

Responsibilities

The social worker should take steps to ensure that the assessment is conducted in line with social work legislation. They should consider any wider legal duties beyond the duties provided in social work legislation for instance, in a crisis situation or where the person's safety is at risk.

Practitioners should ensure that the person's support plan is comprehensive and that the support plan meets the identified needs of the supported person. They may arrange for some additional assistance so that the supported person can play a full part in the assessment or support planning process. They must ensure the supported person is involved as far as is possible, and their voice and wishes respected.

The practitioner or local area team should be provided with the appropriate support and guidance from their organisation to ensure that they are empowered to use their professional judgement to apply appropriate discretion in line with Standard 8 (Worker Autonomy) in the SDS Framework of Standards[43].

Practitioners other than social workers may carry out assessments, but social workers are accountable for the exercise of specific statutory functions, as set out in The Role of the Registered Social Worker in Statutory Interventions: Guidance for Local Authorities.[44] See also the Code of Practice covering all those considered to be social services workers in Scotland, which includes social workers.[45]

Role

Independent support and advocacy worker

Responsibilities

Support and advocacy workers can assist the supported person to understand and realise their rights, and can help ensure that support plans are co-produced effort with people whom the supported person wishes to involve, including families and carers.

Role

Chief Social Work Officers (CSWOs)

Responsibilities

Local authority CSWOs have a central and statutory role in delivering high quality social work services and in ensuring implementation of all their statutory duties including those mentioned in this Guidance, in line with the specific functions of the CSWO role as set out in The Scottish Government's Guidance on role of the Chief Social Work Officer (2016)[46].

Role

Senior leaders within the relevant authority, Health and Social Care Partnership and other relevant organisations

Responsibilities

Senior decision makers shape the culture and conditions in which important decisions are made about a supported person's care and support, including positive approaches to risk enablement and management. They should therefore take steps to ensure that guidance, training and culture of the organisation is consistent with the spirit and statutory principles of the 2013 Act. They should support front line professionals and providers to work closely with individuals in a flexible, autonomous and innovative way.

The relevant authority and/or Health Board should ensure that their staff are made aware of their duties and powers in relation to assessment functions. They should take steps to commission a good range of support, information and advocacy services to ensure that people receive accessible information at the right time.

Role

The legal function within authorities and/or Health Boards

Responsibilities

Legal advisers provide support to social work services, advising on their legal responsibilities and powers. The legal function within the authority should be familiar with the relevant duties concerning assessment and support and how these relate to wider legal duties, for example, in relation to equalities, human rights, safeguarding, mental health and incapacity legislation, and adult support and protection. The legal function should support the social work function, working together to deliver an innovative approach to the provision of care and support.

Role

The finance function within authorities or Health Boards

Responsibilities

Finance managers and officials play an important role in determining and administering the level of spend assigned to services, and monitoring legal contractual obligations as set out in the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003[47].

Finance functions should provide the necessary support to the social work function to support collective objectives, ensuring effective systems to support social care provision and encouraging choice, control and flexibility for supported people, including supporting the pooling of budgets where appropriate. Finance managers and officers should respect the assessment of social workers and should support a positive approach to risk management (see SDS Framework of Standards: Standard 6 Risk Enablement).

Role

The commissioning function within authorities, Integration Joint Boards, Health Boards and wider Health and Social Care Partnerships

Responsibilities

Commissioning describes the activities involved in assessing and forecasting needs, the linking of investment to agreed outcomes and consideration of the options available. It also describes the activities to plan the nature, range and quality of future services and the steps that are taken by the relevant authorities and health boards to work in partnership to put their plans in place.

Joint commissioning is where these actions are undertaken by two or more agencies working together. The organisations and individuals who commission services play a statutory role in ensuring that a good range of support is made available in order to meet the needs and desires of a diverse population.

As part of its approach to the development of effective commissioning strategies, the authority should consider the implications of SDS and the importance of encouraging and supporting a suitable variety of supports for adults, children/families and carers that are focused on outcomes.[48]

Role

The provider

Responsibilities

The provider may be a local authority, the NHS, an organisation from the third or independent sector, or a Personal Assistant employed by the supported person (or their unpaid carer) under Option 1. The provider has a key role in the design of services and can play an important role in the assessment and support planning process. However, the legal duty to meet assessed needs remains with the relevant authority, Health and Social Care Partnership or Integration Joint Board (where duties are delegated).

Role

NHS

Responsibilities

The legal duties in relation to the provision of healthcare support are broadly framed in the NHS (Scotland) Act 1978. There is no definitive list of social care and healthcare interventions in this legislation. This provides a high degree of discretion to health and social care practitioners and organisations. For example, while the NHS is not obliged to provide personalised funds to a supported person, it may do so.

Delegation of certain aspects of health care to a non-NHS practitioner is already established in community health as part of the shift towards delivering health interventions previously limited to being delivered in an acute setting to being delivered at home, for example through Community Links practitioners.

Role

Elected members

Responsibilities

Local authorities vary considerably in size and population, but all have responsibility for providing a range of public services to the communities in their area. Each council is made up of councillors who are elected by the residents of the area they represent.

Councillors and other elected duty-bearers set and agree local priorities based on the unique needs of their local area. They may advocate on behalf of their constituents but do not make decisions regarding assessments or a supported person's care. See also the Councillors' Code of conduct Scotland[49].

See also Diagram 1 in Annex 1 which provides a more accessible summary of these key functions and their relationship to the supported person.

Finally, see also the SDS Framework of Standards[50] which contain practice statements related to different roles and responsibilities.

Contact

Email: yvonne.nova@gov.scot

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