SDS at Centre Stage. Reflecting on SDS AGM 2019.

SDSS AGM Programme held in front of Perth Concert Hall and a row of plasma screens showing SDSS logo

On November 13th 2019 the SDSS AGM took place in Perth at the beautiful Perth Concert Hall. There were 51 delegates in attendance from a range of membership organisations from across Scotland. The event was as an opportunity to discuss the work of SDSS over the last 12 months, highlight key achievements and challenges, and for members to have a say about the future work and governance of SDSS.

A big thanks to our speakers, workshops hosts and and venue staff who contributed to this successful event. Read more about what members got from the day below.

Who did members hear from?

As well as the formal AGM where members had their opportunity to have their say of the future work and governance of the organisation we heard from a range of speakers on the day:

Jess Wade, SDSS Manager.

Laura Finnan Cowan with Joanna Boddy, Alzheimer Scotland.

Lorna Ascroft, Scottish Government Social Care Team.

Dr Dianne Theakstone and Ashleigh Milroy, SDSS My Support, My Choice Team. (Replacing Chris Baird who was unable to attend.)

Robert White, ILF Scotland.

You can access a full copy of the SDSS AGM programme here. Slides from the day can be found here.

SDS at Centre stage.

SDSS were delighted to be joined by the fantastic Lewis Carroll on the day for a performance that really put SDS at ‘Centre Stage.’ Lewis’ life was changed when he started using his personal budget to participate in singing groups with Music4U and integrated stage school, watch his performance at our AGM below:

Learning and outcomes.

Ahead of the day we asked people what they hoped to achieve and learn from the day, from this we were able to identify 4 key themes/objectives:

(1) Catching up with fellow members and shared learning

Examples included:

‘Meeting up with old and new members.’

‘Networking opportunity and insight into the way forward for SDS.’

‘Encouragement!  To keep believing that local authorities will apply SDS for the benefit of people in our communities.’

‘Networking and ideas/opportunities to take back and/or implement in the SDS programme.’

Networking with other members. Increasing my knowledge of what is out there in terms of resources and organisations. New thoughts and ideas being stimulated.’

(2) More specifically participants told us they would like to have the oppourtunity to discuss how other members are working to resolve issues in their area

Examples included:

‘[We are] particularly interested in looking at the direction of local independent services at this time,[it is] always good to hear how other organisations are tackling common issues that we face.’ 

‘A better understanding of how other organisations are tackling problems with service users accessing SDS in their local authorities.’

(3) To learn more about SDSS as an organisation and how we can support you

Examples included:

‘Learning how SDSS is progressing the work of its membership.’

‘Finding out more about the work that SDSS do’ 

(4) To discuss SDS on a national level

Examples included:

‘Update of what is happening throughout the country.’

‘Networking hearing what is happening nationally.’

Post event feedback.

After the event we asked participants to complete a short evaluation form results are as follows.


Participants were asked to reflect on the outcome expressed above. Each participant who completed a evaluation told us that their outcomes for the day had been met, with a number stating that it was a brilliant opportunity for networking and further learning.


In the afternoon each participant attended a practical workshop session. We asked participants to tell us their key learning points from the workshop that they attended which were as follows:

Collaborative working with Community Link Workers/Practitioners.  Ayrshire Independent Living Network.

‘I learnt about the role and benefits of having Community Link Workers in your area’

Time for change: developing a new PA Employer’s tool. SDSS.

‘Yes I enjoyed the PA handbook session, being an Option 1 adviser and the voice of PA Employers/ Service users.’

‘It was great to be involved in this discussion. I learnt that it is important to update the PA handbook and remember that it is an ever evolving document.’

Access to SDS for people and families affected by Addiction and Dual Diagnosis. Reach Advocacy. 

‘SDS and addictions workshop was fantastic highlighting missed opportunities!’

A right based approach is more useful when it comes to addictions rather than a needs based one when it comes to addictions. Before today I didn’t know addiction (substance and otherwise) was part of SDS eligibility.’

‘The role of Advocacy with ACEs and the need for SDS in addictions support.’

Partnerships and working together- How do other local organisations do this? PKAVS Carers Hub, Support Choices and Centre for Inclusive Living Perth and Kinross. 

‘Benefits (and challenges) of partnerships, finding the balance!’

‘That we all want partnerships to work.’

‘Learnt about the ways organisations tackle partnership working.’

‘Through the discussions I learnt about the possible consequences of accelerated partnerships and the possibility of missing the stage of creating roots.’


We asked attendees what their highlight from the day was which followed the following themes:

(1) Unsurprisingly the majority of delegates told us that hearing Lewis’ performance was their highlight of the day:

‘The highlight for me was Lewis’ story and outstanding performance.’

(2) Networking:

‘I was able to catch up with all of our key partners’

(3) We also had feedback that the event format and content was a particularly engaging for delegates:

‘It was a great day; the format each aspect was ‘fresh’ and engaging.’ 


We gave delegates an opportunity to let us know what we could improve on from the day. We did not receive any comments regarding future improvements and were delighted to receive comments such as:

‘I thought the whole day was well organised, informative and professional. Everything certainly was catered for, the venue was amazing, accessible, ease of movement and great signage’

‘It takes a lot of work to put this together and is much appreciated.’ 

We would like to thank our members for all of their hard work over the last year and look forward to welcoming them at our next event ‘SDS National Voice 2020, ‘Common Ground’ which will take place on Wednesday 11th March in Glasgow, more details to follow.



Self Directed Support Scotland

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