Global Standards For Self-Directed Support

Background to the 15 Global SDS Standards

During 2021 to 2022, a small group of self-direction advocates (who identify as people with disabilities, researchers, and providers) met regularly to plan an international gathering to expand and enhance self-directed support.

The goal of the meeting was to develop a statement describing the essential elements of self-directed support. Over several virtual meetings in 2022, 30 participants from New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Finland, and England engaged in discussion and to amend the draft standards.

The following Standards are to be viewed as essential elements of a robust self-directed support system:

  1. Dedicated resources, individualized and controlled by the person, used flexibly and creatively to support the person’s best life.
  2. Access to legally recognized supported decision-making that minimizes substitute decision-making and the loss of legal agency
  3. Outreach and education, beginning in early childhood.
  4. Clear and simple information, widely available in the mainstream, tailored for cultural responsiveness and relevance, and fully accessible.
  5. Practical administrative processes that minimize participant burden.
  6. Person-centered planning – a process of identifying what is important to a person with strategies to support what’s important – that supports a commitment to peoples’ capacity and value.
  7. Freely available assistance with technical aspects of self-directed support, including assistance to ensure good employer and employee relationships, fair and rewarding work, and effective hiring and retention practices.
  8. Peer support – mutual aid in understanding and navigating the system – at the person, community, and system levels that bolsters participation, drives innovation, and holds the system accountable to its values.
  9. Transparent, fair resource allocation based on a person’s priorities and needs.
  10. Portability of self-directed funding and eligibility across jurisdictions within a country.
  11. Comprehensive and genuinely independent systems of advocacy to protect human rights, privacy of personal information, freedom to make big and small life decisions, and the prevention and safeguarding from harm.
  12. Practices that ensure all people have the option to control as much or as little of their supports as they choose, based on the presumption of personal capacity.
  13. Quality practices and outcomes measurement that support continuous learning and improvement and hold systems accountable to the principles of self-directed support.
  14. An orientation toward equity in access and respect for people’s cultural identities, with particular attention to groups that are historically marginalized and underserved.
  15. People with lived experience of disability or ill health have principal roles in the oversight, governance, and administration of support systems

The difference between these and Scotland’s SDS Standards

  • Scotland’s SDS Standards focus on action to support local SDS implementation
  • They are aimed at Local Authorities, HSCP and NHS Boards – who need to show how they meet the Standards in practise
  • They are recognised by Scottish Government and COSLA
  • They were co-produced with a wide range of SDS stakeholders

You can see a copy of the draft Global SDS Standards here:,standards%20based%20on%20global%20learning.

If anyone is interested in the work of the SDS Network you can find more details here:

You can compare these Standards to the SDS Standards used in Scotland here.

Self Directed Support Scotland

Share this: