What is self directed support?

Self directed support means people, regardless of age and what help and support they may need, being in control of their own lives.  It also means people getting the right information, advice and support so they can make decisions about:
  • Where they live
  • Who they live with
  • What they do with their lives
  • How they spend their money

The Scottish Government have published a 10 year national strategy to take forward the implementation of self-directed support.

Download the PDF: National Strategy for Self Directed Support

In 2013, a new law, The Social care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 received its royal assent.  The law will come into force in April 2014 and it imposes some new duties on all local authorities in Scotland in relation to self-directed support.

Download the PDF: Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013

 Describing self directed support

Whether you are someone who uses social care services, have a family member who needs support or you work in social care, there are resources to assist you in the journey towards self directed support.

There is extensive information and resources which you can access through this site which will help describe what self directed support is, tools to help with planning and managing an individual budget, and stories to inspire and give you ideas.

Why Self Directed Support?

Self directed support means people being able to organise support and services in a way that makes sense and works well for themself and their families.  The best way to share how self directed support has worked for people and their families is to let them tell their own stories and share their experiences.

The seven step model of self directed support

In Control developed a seven step model of  self-directed support as a way of helping people to understand a process for effective implementation of a system of self-directed support that can be used.  Simply, this is a series of steps that can be followed as a way to put people in control and make choices as to how resources are used.  Although there are seven steps described, some steps will take longer and are more important than others.  For example, for lots of people, the most important part of the process is where they make a plan that shows how they intend to use all the resources available to them (including the funding available to them from their local authority) to get more of the life and support that will work for them.

New Picture

What is an individual budget?

The idea behind an individual budget is that it makes it much clearer how much money is available to support you, your family member or child. The amount of money or individual Budget is based on needs identified using an assessment which the local authority is responsible for. The individual budget allocated will also depend on how much money the local authority has to spend on social care.

Once an individual budget has been identified using the assessment, this is called an indicative budget; you can make a plan saying how you want to spend this money. You may need help planning and thinking about how you can achieve this.

This plan isn’t just about getting hours of support from staff but using your budget in ways which help you get the life you want. Being creative with how you use the money means it may go further than using traditional services and solutions.

Agreeing the individual budget?

Once you have decided how you want to use the money and have came up with a plan this must be agreed by your Social Worker/Care Manager. They need to check that any plan you have meets your needs but is also legal and safe. If they agree this then you can start to organise how you turn your plan into a reality.

How you manage an individual budget?

Having an individual budget means being in control of decisions about the support and how it is organised. This includes who provides the support and when and how you get that support. This also means deciding how to manage the money.

There are different ways you can organise and manage the individual budget. You will want to think about this while you are doing you’re planning so you are able to organise the money in a way that makes sense for you.

  • The money can be paid directly to you this is called a direct payment.
  • The money can be paid to a close family member who will manage this on your behalf this is called an indirect payment.
  • The money can also be kept on your behalf by a provider this is called an individual service fund.
  • The money can be kept for you by the local authority who can buy services for you.
  • You can also have a mixture of the different ways to manage the individual budget
  • Once the money is organised you are ready to follow the plan and use the individual budget to get the support you need and the life you want.

Reviewing things!

It is important to make sure that things are going well; there will be time to consider with others including the care manager if things have gone to plan.

You will also be required to show how the individual budget has been spent and keep reasonable records. Everyone will be looking to see what outcomes have been achieved and checking that your needs have been met and that you are safe and well.  This would be the time to make any changes you need to make.


In Control Scotland produced a booklet that tells you more about the organisation and the seven steps model.  You can Download the PDF here:In Control Scotland Booklet  pdf

This graphic is of the jigsaw of  change.  It shows all the pieces that need to be in place for a system of self-directed support to work effectively. Download the PDF:The jigsaw

Real wealth is an idea that shows Download the PDF:Real Wealth

Links to other sites that have a lot of useful information about self-directed support

Self Directed Support Scotland: http://www.sdsscotland.org.uk/

The Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network: http://www.spaen.co.uk/

Centre for Welfare Reform:http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org.uk

In Control: http://www.in-control.org.uk