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Experiences of SDS in Scottish Borders

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Self Directed Support Scotland (SDSS) and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) have published a report exploring the experiences of people who access or wish to access Self-directed Support (SDS) in Scottish Borders.

This report is part of a suite of Local Authority reports collated during the largest direct consultation of SDS to date – My Support, My Choice: User Experiences of Self-directed Support in Scotland (MSMC). The research also resulted in a separate suite of thematic reports exploring the experiences of people with learning disabilities, Black and minority ethnic people, people with lived experience of mental health problems, blind and partially sighted people, and women as users of SDS.

The national report and the five thematic reports have been quoted in the Independent Review of Adult Social Care, and provided key evidence for Social Work Scotland’s trialling of the new Self-directed Support (SDS) Standards.

My Support My Choice: People’s Experiences of Self-directed Support and Social Care in Scottish Borders highlights evidence of good practice and where improvements can be made. We hope it can assist in the strategic planning and delivery of future SDS/ social care in Scottish Borders – particularly regarding the development and local implementation of the National Care Service.

The views expressed by research participants and analysis of the findings have led to a number of recommendations, many of which echo other independent reviews of SDS:

  • People need good access to publicly available, high quality information about SDS/ social care, in a range of accessible and tailored formats.
  • Sufficient time must be allocated for needs assessments and review meetings, to allow for detailed questions and consideration of the four SDS options.
  • Further information and training for professionals may be required about the SDS options and supported decision making.
  • Targeted efforts are required to ensure that people living in rural areas of Scottish Borders have a meaningful choice between – and can access – all four SDS options and appropriate person centred, rights based care, without having to incur disproportionate expenditure or move house.
  • Local peer networks, including the Scottish Borders SDS Forum, should be encouraged and supported.

The report also includes a response from Scottish Borders Council, who said:

“It is heartening to know that most people reported a positive experience [of SDS]. […] We are keen to review the findings and recommendations with stakeholders. Research participants have raised some concerns and we want to address these, build on the good practice recognised in the report and jointly plan improvements. With the introduction of the SDS Standards there is also a useful opportunity to include the research as we review our approach against these new standards.”

The research team are organising an online feedback session with key stakeholders from Scottish Borders on Tuesday 24 August from 11am – 1pm. All welcome!

Please register for the free session and join the conversation as we explore the delivery of SDS at every stage of the process, from first contact, to assessment, establishing eligibility, allocating resources, support planning and reviews.

The input of those living and/or working in Scottish Borders is very valuable in discussing next steps.

If you have any questions about the research, please email Dr Hannah Tweed, Senior Policy Officer at the ALLIANCE (hannah.tweed@alliance-scotland.org.uk) or Mark Han-Johnson, Membership Development Executive at SDSS (mark@sdsscotland.org.uk).