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Improving Social Care Services in the Highlands

Improving Social Care Services in the Highlands

Highland Self Directed Support Stakeholder Group

We are arranging a series of Self Directed Support meetings taking place across the Highlands over the next 12 months. We see these meetings as an opportunity to focus on how SDS is developing locally and how we can work together to improve this. We welcome anyone with an interest in SDS taking part, especially people receiving SDS, carers and staff and volunteers for organisations supporting people locally.

We have arranged the meetings in 2 parts, so that people using SDS, carers and people working in the voluntary sector, can come together to share their experience of accessing and making use of SDS in a supportive environment. We then hope to be joined by NHS and Council colleagues to work on addressing any areas for improvement in the future.

We would really value your experience and ideas and hope that you will be able to make some of the meetings. We are also aware that people using SDS and their carers may need some support to attend meetings and we are very happy to look at this as well.

If you would like to come along, please sign up at one of our Eventbrite listings. We have created one for each meeting, which are:


Merkinch Community Centre Tuesday 2nd October 2018 – 10.30am-3pm

Fort William

Ben Nevis Hotel  Tuesday 27th November 2018 – 10.30am-3pm


The Weigh Inn  Wednesday 6th March 2019 – 10.30am-3pm


Dingwall Baptist Church Tues 4th June 2019 – 10.30am-3pm

Alternatively, you can contact Mark Han-Johnston directly who can book your place for you on:

Tel: (0131) 475 2623


Pocket-sized Guide to the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

Coalition of Carers: New Guide to Carers Act 2016

The Coalition of Carers have produced a 2 page guide to what people can expect from the new Carers (Scotland) Act 2016.

They outline the Carer Pathway to getting the support that Carers need, through the provision of information, to having a good conversation and to making sure Carers needs are being met. You can see a copy of this 2 page guide here.

The Carers Act also gives Carers specific new rights which includes:

  • An Adult Carer Support Plan for adult carers
  • A Young Carer Statement for young carers
  • Both of these can be provided without first requiring carers to be providing care on a substantial and regular basis
  • Taking a preventative approach to identify each carer’s personal outcomes and needs for support
  • A requirement to provide information and advice services to carers

Carers and carer representatives must also involved in:

  • Setting local Eligibility Criteria
  • The preparation of local Carer Strategies, Short Breaks Services Statements and planning of carer services.
  • Carers must also be involved in hospital discharge processes

Under the Act a ‘carer’ is an individual who provides or intends to provide care for another individual.

For example, where a person self-identifies as a carer they may request an Adult Carer Support Plan (ACSP). If they appear to meet the definition of carer, the responsible local authority must prepare an ACSP.

When carers are identified by practitioners, whether in the community or acute settings, they must be offered an ACSP. If they accept the offer the responsible local authority must prepare an ACSP.

The carer must be given a copy of the finalised ACSP.

In addition, any carer support provided for the carer will be provided under section 24 of the Act and cannot be charged for or means tested.

To find more detailed information on the Carers Act and what this means for carers in practice, see the publications below.

You can see a copy of the Carers Act Statutory Guidance here.

You can also see a copy of a Carers Charter here.

New Research on SDS Implementation published

Providers and Personalisation: New Research report into the Barriers and Enablers for Self-directed Support implementation.

Their Report covered 5 Local Authority areas and they interviewed 35 people with roles ranging across strategic, operational, commissioning and front-line positions, from a range of urban and rural areas.

Their conclusions of the Barriers to SDS Implementation include:

  • Internal barriers within the Local Authority – including the complexity in changing practise
  • Capacity and sustainability of providers to deliver support in current financial circumstances
  • Recruitment and retention of staff for providers
  • Lack of provision meaning some people in more remote areas only being able to access Option 1
  • Impact of cuts and an increasing need for support
  • Access to funding to meet assessed need becoming more difficult
  • Variable quality of leadership within Local Authorities
  • Lack of commitment to SDS amongst some Local Authority staff
  • The status and skills of some SDS champions being limited – and a lack of support for them
  • High turnover of personnel
  • Limited training on SDS in Local Authorities
  • Skills gaps when dealing with issues of risk and implementing personal outcomes
  • Finance staff inappropriately questioning SDS expenditure
  • Some Managers not fully engaging with SDS over fears of the misuse of SDS budgets
  • Workload and complexity of service provision required
  • View that Option 3 was for people less able to manage an SDS budget in some way
  • Limited development towards integrating an outcome focused assessment, and actual outcomes, beyond the framework of existing eligibility criteria
  • Lack of support for an Outcomes focused Assessment when it came to the allocation of financial resources
  • Variable ‘buy-in’ from Health to support SDS implementation
  • SDS viewed as an ‘organisational obligation’ in some areas, and a ‘wider philosophical shift’ in others

Some of the suggestions to address the issues highlighted include:

  1. Improve leadership in SDS by encouraging more ‘champions’, with a guaranteed position
  2. Undertake a training needs analysis regarding SDS, including leadership skills, within local authorities.
  3. Develop training that can meet accommodate different levels of knowledge across specialisms
  4. Encourage the development of smaller, more flexible providers in remote communities
  5. Develop more support services among businesses in local communities for those choosing Option 1
  6. Paying the Scottish Living Wage and beyond for adult care workers to resolve recruitment and retention issues
  7. Examining the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC’s) accreditation and training model to assess its suitability for purpose.

You can find a copy of the Research Report here.

National Minimum Wage and Sleepover: Legal Ruling

Legal Issues – ‘Sleep-in’ shifts and the National Minimum Wage

You might have heard of the recent Court of Appeal Judgement on the outcome of paying care staff the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for sleep-ins. There is now a useful description of the Court Judgement and what this means for staff working sleepovers and the employers paying people. Navigator provides an employment and HR advice service, which you can find out more about here.

See Navigators outline of the Legal Ruling on the National Minimum Wage here.

The case was brought by MENCAP and you can see a copy of MENCAPs statement on the ruling here.

What does this mean for Scotland? The Scottish Government has given a commitment to support the payment of the National Minimum Wage for sleepovers in Scotland and has made financial provision for this to each Local Authority in Scotland. However, as there is now no requirement for an employer to pay the National Minimum Wage, there may be future uncertainty as to whether Local Authorities will continue to fund this in the future.

Members Training Event: Making Participation Requests (11th September 2018)

Members Training Event:

Making Participation Requests

Participation requests are a new way for people to have their say about improvements they would like to see made to the public services they use.

They are part of a piece of Scottish Government legislation called the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act.

By making a participation request, a community group or ‘community of interest‘ can start a discussion with organisations in charge of public services, such as hospitals, social care, schools, the environment and transport, about how to improve these services. 

So for example, if you wanted to have a discussion about how Self Directed Support was being implemented in your area, you could make a Participation Request to request a discussion with relevant people from across the Local Authority, to address the specific issues you have.

This free workshop for community groups and organisations is a chance to find out more about participation requests, how to make one and what to think about before you do.

The workshop is being delivered by the Scottish Community Development Centre and is being hosted by the South Lanarkshire Self Directed Support Network (SLSDSN)

Date: Tuesday 11th September 2018

Time: 11am – 2pm

Venue:  Whitehill Neighbourhood Centre

               9, Hunter Road, Hamilton

               South Lanarkshire

               ML3 0LH

You can see a Flyer for the event here.

You can book a place on Eventbrite here.

SDSS will support members to attend the training by covering reasonable travel expenses and support costs.

If you have any queries just contact Mark on (0131) 475 2623 or by email at:

EHRC Videos explaining Discrimination

Equality and Human Rights Commission Videos: Explaining Discrimination

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have recently published a series of short videos, featuring members of the Scotland legal team, each of which explain different aspects of discrimination law, from the nine protected characteristics to the different forms of discrimination. All the videos are subtitled, short and straightforward. They cover topics such as:

  • Equality law: discrimination explained
  • What is disability discrimination?
  • Different types of pregnancy and maternity discrimination
  • What is harassment and victimisation?
  • What is direct and indirect discrimination?
  • What is the public sector equality duty?

These can all be found on the EHRC Youtube channel.

In addition, you can go to the EHRC website for further information on your rights under the Equality Act 2010 here.

Adviser Support Scotland:

EHRC also continue to offer an Adviser Support service for frontline agencies in Scotland to access high quality second-tier advice on equality and human rights issues.

This can be reached by email or telephone (0141 228 5990) from Monday – Friday and further details can be found on the EHRC website here.

Contact us about a case:

EHRC are also interested in hearing from solicitors, advocates and advisers who are bringing cases which we may consider funding or in which we may intervene. To speak with our legal team about a case or issue, call us on (0141) 228 5951 (Monday to Friday).


New Publication: Self-Directed Support – IF IT’S SO GOOD THEN WHY IS IT SO HARD?

Simon Duffy has created a paper on behalf of the SKILLS Project, which is a partnership project between ANFFAS, KVPS, EASPD, In Control Scotland and The Centre for Welfare Reform to promote Self-directed Support in Europe. Self-Directed Support is at an early stage of development in Europe and awareness of its benefits is low. The project aim is not only to develop useful materials for educators, but also to help advance the idea of Self-Directed Support in Europe.

The paper asks a number of questions and offers answers to these questions from both a Scottish and English experience. Questions include:

  • What is it?
  • How does it work?
  • What does the research say?
  • Why does it work?
  • What is different about it?
  • Who uses it?
  • Where do we start?
  • What are the principles?
  • What is the future?
  • Where are we at present?

In addition they create a series of questions for Leaders (which could include senior Health and Social Care and Scottish Government staff) to consider in terms of developing and supporting SDS implementation.

You can see a copy of Paper here.

Join Citizen Network:

Citizen Network is a global non-profit cooperative movement, formed to create a world where everyone matters – where everyone can be an equal citizen. They work together – locally and globally – to create welcoming communities for everyone and to form a powerful movement for change all around the world. Membership is free and if you are interested you can join here.

New Publication: Guidelines for Assessing Adults with Autism for Self Directed Support

Guidelines for Assessing Adults with Autism for Self Directed Support

Developed by the Autism Self Direct project, this booklet is for use by health and social care staff involved in the assessment and care planning for adults with autism. It aims to:

  • increase assessors’ awareness and knowledge of autism
  • provide practical advice to support accurate assessment
  • minimise stress and anxiety for adults with autism during this process

Thereby making the Self-Directed Support SDS process as positive and supportive as possible for people with autism and minimising avoidable difficulties. The Autism Self Direct Project was a partnership between Autism Initiatives, The National Autistic Society Scotland and Scottish Autism, funded by the Scottish Government.


New Rights for Children aged 12+ with Additional Support for Learning Needs

New Rights for Children aged 12+ with Additional Support for Learning Needs

On 10th January 2018 the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 come into force.

As of this date the rights of children aged 12 – 15 have been extended to give them many of the same rights as their parents and carers and young people over 16 under additional support for learning legislation.

The Scottish Government’s intention in delivering this Act is to empower children between the age of 12 and 15 to ensure they are able to influence decisions about their education and support including the identification, planning and review of their needs.

The Scottish Government hope these new rights will be particularly helpful to children whose parents are not always able to act on their behalf (such as looked after children and young carers).

Once children reach their 12th birthday they will have the right to:

  • Ask their School or Local Authority to find out if they need extra support
  • To have a say in plans and decisions made about the support they get
  • To have Advocacy support at meetings about their support needs to help them share their views, questions some plans or make an appeal about certain issues if they are unhappy with the support being provided
  • To be more involved in resolving disagreements about their support

Safeguards have been put in place to protect children who do not have capacity to make their own decisions or where making use of their rights would have a negative impact on their wellbeing. The School or Education Authority will need to assess a child’s capacity to determine if they are able to make their request and to make sure this does not put them at any risk.

The Scottish Government have funded a new children’s service called My Rights My Say to ensure children know about and understand their rights and are able to access advocacy and legal representation where needed when using their rights. This service is being provided by Partners in Advocacy and covers the whole of Scotland.

If you would like to know more about the new service, check out the blog from Enquire

Enquire have produced a Factsheet which you can see here called Children’s Rights to Education and Additional Support in School

There is also a new website called REACH which supports young people’s voices on problems at school and how to get support that can help them. See REACHs website here.

To learn more about the My Rights My Say Advocacy Service for children and young people, get in touch with Partners in Advocacy at their Glasgow office on (0141) 847 0660 or email: 

To access this support, a child, young person or parent can contact the service or make a referral via email to:

Fund to help organisations implement new Carers Act

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Fund to help organisations implement new Carers Act

Carers Act Transformation Support (CATS) Fund

The fund is open for applications from third sector organisations – charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups,based in Scotland who are currently providing support to carers which is aligned with the implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016. This funding is to improve their capacity to carry out their role in local implementation of the Act. Your organisation must be part of a regulated body – that have a charity number, SCIO number. Where this is not the case, your application must have the support of a regulated organisation who will be asked to provide a reference for you.

In addition to applications from single organisations, they welcome collaboration between eligible organisations and will consider joint applications where economies of scale, wider sector benefit and innovation can be clearly demonstrated.

Closing date for applications is 3rd August 2018

Find all the details on how to apply to the fund here

Please read the guidelines before submitting your application.

If you have any queries, please contact Irene Connelly on (0141) 465 7537 or email her at: