New research highlights individuals’ experiences of SDS

A woman with a clipboard sits on a sofa with a younger woman with pink and yellow hair and an older woman

Two new pieces of research have been published, which explore individuals’ experiences of Self-directed Support. 

An article by researchers based at Stirling University gathered the views of more than 120 disabled people who had accessed (or tried to access) SDS. The report reflects both positive and negative experiences, and highlights some of the changes needed in the way SDS is resourced and delivered, to support disabled and older people to exercise genuine choice and control not just over the SDS process, but over their own lives. 

Another research paper, published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in July, aims to understand the extent to which Self-directed Support helps people achieve their personal outcomes.  

The research found that for a few people, SDS worked well to “help them assemble a team of suitably skilled carers, organise care tailored around their needs and routines, and fund equipment, respite or other items and services they needed”. For others, Self-directed Support was associated with “inflexibility to tailor care to their needs and an ongoing struggle with social workers and local authorities over their budgets and how they could be used”. 

The research corroborates many of the experiences related in the My Support My Choice project, carried out by SDS Scotland and the Alliance, which looked in detail at people’s experiences of SDS in six local authority areas. You can access the full My Support My Choice reports, plus Easy Read versions, on our website. 

Together, this research presents a clear picture of consistent themes around the benefits of SDS in enabling choice and control, and barriers to implementation.  

The challenge now presented by these research projects is in making sure their recommendations are put into action, and reflected in the forthcoming Implementation Plan for Self-directed Support.  

SDS Scotland will play a key role in this as part of the National Collaboration, working with Social Work Scotland and a wide range of stakeholders to support the transition from the current situation to the point of delivery of the National Care Service, in doing so ensuring that the service is built on principles of choice and control, the value of which this research clearly demonstrates. 

Self Directed Support Scotland

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