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Personal Assistant (PA) Survey

Personal Assistant (PA) Survey by Strathclyde University

Strathclyde University are undertaking a survey to look at the experience of working as a Personal Assistant in Scotland, as well as how the role of a PA can support innovation and achieving the Personal Outcomes that are important to the PA Employer.

The survey is based on a tool called The Fair, Innovative & Transformative Work (FITwork) Tool. This looks at the arrangements in place for PAs that can support or limit innovation, and help them provide the best possible care for their employer. It also considers behaviours and attitudes, and focuses on issues that national and international research has identified as crucial to getting the most out of the resources currently available to the employer.

If you would like the opportunity to bring people together in a focus group, Strathclyde University would be more than happy to help facilitate such a discussion. To arrange this or to discuss any other aspect of the research, you can contact:

Dr Amy Watson (Research Associate)

Scottish Centre for Employment Research

Department of Human Resource Management

University of Strathclyde


Tel: (0141) 548 4018


Your Top Ten SDS 2017 Articles.

Season's Greetings. Top 10 Image.

Season's Greetings. Top 10 Image.


To wrap up a busy year for SDSS we have identified the 10 most popular SDS 2017 articles from our website. See if you can spot the themes from 2017!

10. Last but not least at number 10 we have a summary of the The Self Directed Support Your choice Your Right publication, which makes stark recommendations for moving forward with SDS, find out if you agree with their conclusions here!

9. Next on the list at number 9 we have a round up of PA payment updates from 2017, make sure you’re up to date on key changes from this year here.

8. At number 8 we have a post about Disclosure Scotland and their ongoing review of the PVG scheme and the discussion we held for SDS Support organisations and PA employers, key questions the PVG scheme review asks are here.

7. Following on at number 7 was the announcement that Support in The Right Direction Funding is open for consultation, there is a final opportunity to make sure your views are heard, please through a survey, more information can be found here.

6. Bringing up a close 6th place is our take on Audit Scotland’s report on SDS, find out if you’re with us.

5. Halfway to the top we have a post about some training offered this year by MECOPP,  take a look here to get a feel for the training they offer This was a popular event and we are working with MECOPP to offer similar training n 2018, stay tuned!

4. Next we have an article surrounding the announcement of the ILF Transition Fund, which initially will be open for applicants aged 16-21 click here to see the original article

If you’re interested in applying check the ILF website for further announcements.

3. Making it into the top 3 is a summary of key (2015-16) figures from the Scottish Government SDS report, find out how your Local Authority  have been performing here. 

2. A close second we have a post surrounding consultation on the New Carers (Scotland) Act, 2016 , which comes into force on the 1st of April 2018, see our original post here ,you can download a summary of the implementation plan here.

1. At number one we have a post surrounding the commitment made earlier in the year by Scottish Government, to implement the Living Wage of £8.45 for PAs, find out more here! 

SDS 2017 Reflections- Jess Wade, SDSS Manager.

Image of Jess Wade, Manager SDS Scotland

2017 has been a busy one for us, and no doubt you too, and we hope it has also been productive for you!

Reflecting on the year and SDS 2017 we have had a very successful AGM in October, and welcomed two new Trustees, Ged Thompson (DICE) and Joanne McGee (Take Ctrl East Dunbartonshire), to our Management Committee, to ensure our members’ voice is even stronger at the highest level of our organisation. At their recent meeting, our Management Committee also co-opted Brenda Garrard, of PAMIS, to the committee. We have also welcomed our latest staff member, Anna Carr, as our new Communications and Events Officer, and no doubt you will all be hearing more from her in due course. Following all of this change, and coming to the end of our current funding streams, we have been doing a lot of thinking about our future, and have developed our new 2018-21 Strategy, building on feedback from our members, and other stakeholders, as well as our own working knowledge of the current SDS environment. We look forward to sharing this with you in the new year.

We have also been working with the Scottish Government and Inspiring Scotland to support the consultation around the future Support in the Right Direction fund; SiRD2021 and we know that many of you will have been involved in this process too.  If you still want to contribute your thoughts, please complete the survey by Friday 12th January 2018. That process has also been informed by the research on the value of Independent Support, carried out by Craigforth, that many of you took part in and we hope the final report on that will be published soon.

You can view our most popular content from 2017 here which highlights key trends for the year.We have also published a list of the 3 most frequently accessed tools from this here.

Looking to the year ahead, SDS Scotland have exciting plans for a national SDS event in spring, and we’d love to know want you would like to see as part of that event, so we have our own survey on that for you to also complete here so we can create an event that best meets your needs. We’re looking forward to bringing people together to discuss and learn about the key issues facing us all on our quest to make SDS a success throughout Scotland.

Wishing you all the best throughout the festive season and beyond.


Top 3 SDS 2017 Resources.

 Season's Greetings. SDS 2017 Top 3.

The Top-Tastic 3 SDS 2017 Resources:


  1. Dundee’s fantastic SDS Booklet: ‘Your Support Your Choice’
  2. MECOPPs Legal Rights Projects delicious Factsheets and 3 Day Training Course – ‘Making the Law Work for You’
  3. CCPSs tantalising Template for working out the cost of social care

Your Support Your Choice SDS Booklet: Dundee Carers Centre

MECOPP: New Factsheets on SDS

3 day SDS Course – ‘Making the Law work for You’ – book now!

Working out the cost of Social Care: New Template

New publication for PA Employers

New Publication: ‘PAssport to Independent Living – Self Directed Support – our lives, our choices’

The Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL), the PA Network Scotland and SSSC worked together on producing the ‘PAssport to Independent Living’ book, highlighting the work that PAs do and the relationship they have with their employers and Self Directed Support.

This is a collection of stories that shines a light on a very special partnership. The relationship between a personal assistant and the person they support can take a thousand different forms, but at the heart of each is dignity, respect and collaboration.

You can download a copy of this book here: PAssport to Independent Living

To get paper copies of this and the previously released books on Self Directed Support, contact  GCIL on 0141-550-4455

You can also download copies of the other publications here:

Self Directed Support – Way to Go

Direct Payments – Pure Dead Brilliant


The SUSE Survey on SDS and Employment

The Scottish Union of Supported Employment (SUSE) Survey on Employment and Self Directed Support

SUSE run an employability project called ‘Access to Employment’ which gives people an individual budget that they can use to support them with their employment goals.

As part of this project, they would like to understand the barriers that people may face if they have an individual budget and want to get a paid job, undertake training or volunteer.

Their findings will add to any recommendations that they make to the Scottish Government about how to increase the opportunities to people in receipt of individual budgets under SDS.

The Survey is for organisations to complete and has 3 parts. They ask about:

  1. The people you support
  2. Your Organisation
  3. Your experience with decision-makers around SDS such as Local Authorities

The Survey is in paper form and will be sent out by SDSS to all of our member organisations.

Please look out for the Survey and complete this if you can. There will be a pre-paid envelope to return completed surveys to SUSE.

The Survey is open until Friday 19th January.

For further information, contact:

David Cameron (CEO – SUSE)

Scottish Union of Supported Employment

Moulsdale House

24D, Milton Road East


EH15 2NJ

Tel: (0131) 669 1133


Consultation on SDS Funding for Independent Support across Scotland

The Scottish Government

Scottish Government Consultation on SDS Funding for Independent Support across Scotland

The Scottish Government will be opening a new fund to support the development Self Directed Support aimed at Independent Information and Support organisations across Scotland. Before this fund is available, the Scottish Government would like to know what people’s views are on the parameters for the fund.

Currently, there has been 3 consultation events in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen as well as an online Webinar. You can see a video of the webinar here:

There are a number of questions and issues that the survey covers, regarding:

  • The Application Process for the Fund, including the method to be used and the timescale needed
  • How applications should be assessed and whether interviews or presentations should be included as part of the process
  • The Criteria for the Fund, in terms of the activity to be supported
  • The Priorities for the Fund, considering how important factors such as geography, specialist knowledge and the type of support required at different stages is

The survey also looks at the question of how to involve Local Authorities in discussions regarding the development of SDS locally and how certain activities and challenges might be addressed.

This is an opportunity for you to give your views on what this fund could focus on and how this could be as accessible as possible.

To complete the survey, go here:

The survey will be open until Friday 12th January 2018. 

If you would like to comment further on the survey or on any broader issues, you can also contact Kaylie or Ashley at the organisation managing the fund, Inspiring Scotland at:

Kaylie Allen – or  Ashley Drennan –

Members Deliver SDS Implementation Solutions at SDSS AGM 2017

Self Directed Support Scotland AGM 2017: a bridge from Policy to Practice
Florence Garabadien, SDSS Chair, Speaking

Florence Garabadien opens the Self Directed Support Scotland AGM: “Creating solutions together is our vision for the future of independent support in Scotland.”


Peter Scott (ILF Scotland) and Kevin McGoldrick (South Lanarkshire SDS Network)

Peter Scott (ILF Scotland) and Kevin McGoldrick (South Lanarkshire SDS Network)

Jackie Morrison speaking at SDSS AGM 2017

Jackie Morrison from DPHS Fife shares how their Project “SDS Options (Fife)” was established

A huge thank you to all who joined us for our AGM in October, which already seems some way away now!

It was fantastic to have so many members involved throughout the day, and we found it really useful to get feedback from all of you on some of the key issues facing us all at the moment. One of the activities those present took part in was considering some of the areas highlighted by the recent SDS 2017 Progress Report and the outcomes in the SDS 2016/18 Implementation Plan and how we can all contribute to driving work forward on those issues. Key themes that emerged included:

  • A continuing concern over lack of choice for some people, especially in rural areas
  • A focus on cost over quality in terms of commissioning
  • The importance of setting the right conditions for attracting PAs, such as pay rates, realistic costs including pensions, training, development and concerns over different rates according to different SDS options
  • The need for a strategic approach to commissioning across local areas
  • Concerns around a perceived disconnect between commissioners and workers on the ground making change difficult

The Importance of People’s Stories of SDS:

  • Using stories to give clear examples of how SDS can be used in positive and flexible ways to meet people’s Personal Outcomes
  • To show how the 4 options differ and work in practise
  • To help promote a change in people’s behaviour
  • To provide positive examples that people can use to show that SDS can work and be delivered in a variety of ways

The need for Accessible information:

  • Clear, consistent information that is accessible to all

The need to better understand Personal Outcomes and how these are applied in practise:

  • To give really clear examples that show how to identify Personal Outcomes and how these can be met in a range of different ways
  • How an allocated budget can be used flexibly to meet someone’s Personal Outcomes

How to relate local Eligibility Criteria to people’s need for support:

  • To show examples of what ‘Critical’ and ‘Substantial’ need look like in relation to people living an independent life and being able to participate in the life of their community

To understand why SDS is so important:

  • That it is not just about an individual’s safety (life and limb provision), but about people’s human rights and citizenship


  • Have clear timescales for assessments to be undertaken (say within 28 days)
  • If people were having to wait for any period of time, that there is local information on other sources of support that can be provided to people to take further


  • That accurate, updated information to be given on ‘Well Being Assessments’
  • To have a very clear ‘guide’ / information to help understand how SDS is incorporated into the Transitions process
  • That information on the choice available to people at the time of leaving school is created

We asked you to think of SDS implementation solutions, and we’d love to hear if you took anything forward locally as a result of discussions started at the AGM, some ideas people had for solutions were:

  • Independent Support organisations offering training using their expertise, for example around PA employment, to relevant LA teams: social work, finance, legal.
  • Organisations demonstrating their role in supporting LAs to drive forward the SDS agenda successfully


SDS SCotland Manager Jess Wade speaking at the AGM 2017

Jess Wade, manager of SDS Scotland, explores the future of independent support.

Karen Geekie speaking at the SDSS AGM 2017

Karen Geekie, Scottish Government SDS team, highlights SG’s commitment to SDS and ongoing implementation with the SIRD 2021 fund.

Karen Geekie of the Scottish Government SDS Policy Team also joined us for some of the day, and took the opportunity to gather members views as part of an ongoing consultation process on what is now being called the SiRD2021 Fund. Key feedback from members was that:

  • Scottish Government should work with SDS DPOs and representative organisations (such as SDSS) to develop the fund
  • Applications should be viewed by a mixed panel including Scottish Government, DPOs, and perhaps LA representation through COSLA
  • The design process should include a mix of media including use of social media events
  • The importance of geographic spread of support
  • The importance of service user feedback, involvement and peer support in assessing applications and going forward
  • That independent advice and support organisations are a vital part of the SDS process, not an add-on and Scottish Government has a role in communicating this message clearly, along with organisations like SDSS

You will know that there is a series of more detailed consultation events on the SiRD2021 Fund taking place in the coming weeks, including a webinar being run by SDSS, and the feedback given at our AGM was part of the basis for the design of these sessions. Email us if you need an update on this.

Plenty of you have given us your own feedback on the AGM itself, but if you haven’t already done that, please do so here. We’ll be using what you told us through the event itself and feedback to inform future work, including our approach to our planned national event next spring … watch this space!

SDSS Membership representatives in front of the Queensferry Crossing

Representatives of some of SDS Scotland’s Membership get some fresh air after developing action plans for their organisations to influence and develop.



MECOPP: New Factsheets on SDS

MECOPP: New Factsheets on SDS

MECOPP has produced some new Factsheets on Self Directed Support, which are useful for anyone giving information and support to people on SDS. The Factsheets cover:

You can see all of the factsheets on MECOPPs website here
You can also see their new SDS and Dementia Leaflet here

Targets and Indicators for Health and Social Care Services in Scotland


Professor Sir Harry Burns’ report into the use of targets and indicators in Scotland – out now!

Former Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns has carried out an independent national review into targets and indicators for health and social care. The review considered how targets and performance indicators can lead to the best outcomes for people being cared for, whether in hospital, primary care, community care or social care services.

This covers areas such as:

  • Mental Health
  • Childrens well-being
  • Young People
  • Primary Care
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Emergency Care

Conclusions include:

  • A different approach to targets and indicators is necessary
  • There is a need to move to a system of indicators and targets which allow improvements across the whole system of care to be tracked
  • Characteristics of effective indicators include the fact that they are pragmatic, co-produced and subject to continuing review

See Sir Harry Burns’ report here: and as a pdf document here:

See the Scottish Government’s Press Release here: