More to be done to implement Self Directed Support


Jess Wade, manager of Self Directed Support Scotland, gives an update mid-way through the rollout of the project

1st March 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The world of social care is changing, this much we know. Now well into the Self Directed Support (SDS) strategy, and just about mid-way through the current SDS implementation plan it may feel as though the hard work should be over, but those of us working in the field know that there is still much to be done.

It is easy to feel defeated by the sheer scale of the task, and colleagues I speak to throughout the sector - in independent support organisations, the wider third sector, social work departments and beyond - often tell me they didn’t realise just how long this change was going to take. Neither did I. What I do know, right now, is that although we may not be as far on as we’d have hoped, there is still plenty to be excited about in the world of SDS. 

Jess Wade, SDSS

Jess Wade, SDSS

We know that when social care, delivered through the lens of SDS, works for people, it can be life changing and that independent support as part of the social care journey is crucial in turning options into genuine opportunity.

Recent findings from a review of independent information and support services, commissioned by the Scottish Government, support this view: ‘Almost without exception, users were very positive about the quality of support. A central theme was that the support had a profound and life-enhancing impact. This review found that support at any stage in the social care process can make a difference; for some having someone to walk alongside them for their entire journey has been critical.’

This is why now is such an exciting time, with the launch of the new fund, Support in the Right Direction 2021 (SiRD2021) which aims to increase the delivery of independent support for people accessing social care. 

SiRD2021 contributes to the Scottish Government’s 10-year national strategy for SDS implementation and responds to the August 2017 Audit Scotland progress report on Self Directed Support implementation, which recommends that: “People using social care services and their carers need better information and help to understand Self-directed Support and make their choices.”

The Audit Scotland report also gives a clear focus for the work to be done, including a handy checklist for councillors and board members to rate their progress on SDS implementation.

It is clear from the report that there is a need for involvement of service users and carers throughout implementation and their input in completion of this checklist would no doubt be particularly enlightening.

Partnership working is a clear priority too, and none of us can make SDS a success alone. Sharing good practice is key to supporting us all in working together to ensure people have a more positive SDS experience.

Through our SDS National Voice event on Wednesday 14 March at the EICC, we aim to bring together people involved in SDS at all levels to promote and showcase good SDS practice. If you have ideas about how to make SDS work better and want to influence the delivery of social care, come along.