Members Deliver SDS Implementation Solutions at SDSS AGM 2017

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.



Self Directed Support Scotland

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