Self Directed Support failure is leaving people in despair

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The Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN) has said that people are being denied their legal right to choose Self Directed Support

18th October 2017 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Local authorities are failing to implement social care reform, leaving thousands of people in despair.

Earlier this year, a report by Audit Scotland showed that just over a quarter of Scots entitled to Self Directed Support (SDS) are receiving it, seven years into a 10 year strategy to transform social care.

And now the Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN) has said that it is increasingly finding social care recipients  are being denied their legal rights under the SDS Act, leaving them frustrated and desperate.

“A lot of the people we are dealing with are experiencing despair,” said SPAEN chief executive Colin Millar.

“They feel like they are expected to sit in the house and just get on with it. And if they speak up then they fear of having their hours (of support) reduced.”

SPAEN has made a serious of recommendations in its Social Notworking report, which it says are necessary to make provision of social care pro-active rather than reactive. In recent months, SPAEN has seen an increase in people self-reporting poor wellbeing as a result of increased social isolation, reduced social care payments and a reduction in paid support

“We are working with a lot of people who are saying they are being given very little information and are not being told what their budget is,” said Millar.

“A lot of people are also experiencing quite significant cuts in their support.”

The Audit Scotland report – released in August – highlighted at catalogue of challenges in implementing the SDS strategy including budget cuts, poorly informed social workers, lack of support for service users, lengthy procedures for applying for SDS (in some cases up to two years), problems with staff recruitment and retention, poor data management and inconsistent approaches across local authorities.

Now Millar says more pressure needs to be applied on local authorities to ensure that the legal responsibility to offer SDS to people receiving care at home is fulfilled.

“We are behind the 10-year strategy and sat with the Scottish Government as it laid out the strategy,” he said.

“But what we have now is this positive strategy that has become a toothless tiger.

“At times we use the political landscape in Scotland as a barrier and it often feels like local councillors are unattached to the main political parties.

“However most of them are members of the main parties and the parties need to get a much stronger grip and say that this strategy needs to be delivered.”

The Scottish Government has said that local government has a responsibility to ensure that people can make decisions on their care.

A spokesperson said: “Local authorities are responsible for implementing Self Directed Support and we expect them to act on these (Audit Scotland) recommendations, enabling people to make decisions about their social care.”  

The Audit Scotland report said that health and social care boards have a lot of work to do to ensure that the 208,000 adults and 17,000 children needing social care services get more choice and control. An estimated 53,000 are choosing an SDS option.

The spokesperson added that many people are already benefitting from being able to make decisions about their own care and support, but that clear recommendations had been made to make improvements to the system.

This week Scotland's Care Inspectorate has also highlighted major problems with staff recruitment and retention in social care

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18th October 2017 by Colin

The Scottish Government has said that local government has a responsibility to ensure that people can make decisions on their care.A spokesperson said: “Local authorities are responsible for implementing Self Directed Support and we expect them to act on these (Audit Scotland) recommendations, enabling people to make decisions about their social care.”Which is why I made the pre-emptive comment about local authorities being under the control and direction of local councillors who are, in the main, attached to national parties.So is it that there's a lack of "political will" across all parties?