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An Introduction to Self Directed Support (SDS)

SDS in Scotland is part of the mainstream of social care delivery, targeted at empowering people. It is part of creating a healthier nation with stronger and safer communities and is key to achieving a fairer and wealthier Scotland. It puts the principles of independent living into practice and enables people to be active citizens in their communities.

Like the social model of disability, it is about reducing or removing the physical, organisational or attitudinal barriers that people may experience in the world around them. It is about flexibility, choice and control and having a decent quality of life. It is ultimately about promoting confidence and wellbeing for those with an assessed need.

What options are available with SDS?

When someone has been assessed and allocated a budget by social services they will be given 4 options:

Option 1: Direct Payment

A cash payment is paid directly to you (or to a third party).  You can use this payment to choose and control your support.  Our Direct Payments fact-sheet has further information on this.

Option 2: Individual Service Fund

You choose what support you would like and the Local Authority (or an agency) holds your budget and makes the arrangements on your behalf.

Option 3: Direct Service

The local authority selects the support and arranges it.

Option 4: A Combination

You can choose to mix the above options to suit you.

For more information on the above, the Scottish Government have produced national guides for  people who use care and support , carers and health and social care practitioners.  The service user guide is a practical guide written for people who intend to organise and manage their own support.  The carers guide is for carers of people intending to organise and manage their own support arrangements.  The practitioners guide is for practitioners who are working with people to enable them to organise and manage their preferred support arrangements.  Please see the link below for these guides.

Scottish Government, National Guides on SDS 2014 (opens in new window)

The process for deciding upon SDS is through co-production. See Glossary for more information on co production

Useful links