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Get Legal Advice on Self Directed Support: new service available

Three years since the Social Care (Self-directed Support)(Scotland) Act 2013 came in to force, evidence highlights that policy and practice remain inconsistent across Scotland, limiting the potential of Self Directed Support to transform lives. Complex procedures, reductions in Local Authority funding, lack of access to independent advocacy and Independent Support can all prevent people from accessing the support they need.

Who are MECOPP?

MECOPP is an Edinburgh-based charity providing a range of support services to informal carers and those in receipt of care across Scotland. MECOPP works primarily with communities who experience marginalisation due to ethnicity, age, disability or other protected characteristic.

What is the 3 R’s Project?

The 3 R’s are Rights, Respect and Responsibilities. The project will use legal expertise to support and advise individuals about their rights under the SDS legislation. They will also deliver a 3 year capacity building programme to third sector organisations.

How can the 3 R’s Project assist individuals?

The  project is able to assist individuals who feel that they have been treated unfairly by the Local Authority, or where the Local Authority has made a decision that the individual wishes to challenge. Examples of situations where the 3 R’s Project may be able to assist include:

  • Where a review has resulted in a reduced SDS budget, despite increased support needs.
  • Where an individual feels that they were not fully included in the assessment and support planning process, and this has resulted in a package of support which does not meet their needs.
  • Where an individual was not given information or choice of all 4 SDS options and is unhappy with the option offered.
  • Where an individual wishes to make a formal complaint to the Local Authority in relation to SDS. This can include complaints about poor service, excessive delays, and lack of understanding of SDS.

The project has 2 Legal Officers that can provide advice and information to individuals and carers about their legal rights under Self Directed Support, Human Rights and Equalities Legislation. Advice and information can be provided by phone or email. All support is free. In more complex cases, the project can support individuals to challenge local authority decision-making, for example by framing letters to the Local Authority and by making formal Complaints where necessary. Although the project cannot undertake litigation, a referral can be made to a firm of solicitors or a law centre in appropriate circumstances.

How can the 3 R’s Project support the third sector?

The project is developing a range of web-based publications for the third sector, and will also be organising events and training opportunities across Scotland. The project’s two Legal Officers can provide general advice and information by phone or email on specific issues. Third sector organisations can also refer individuals to the project using the referral form on the MECOPP website: www.mecopp.org.uk.

Further Information:

If you would like to find out more about the project, to request leaflets, or make a referral, please contact Jennifer Paton or Janet Marsh on 0131 467 2994 or email info@mecopp.org.uk