Self-Directed Support: Your Choice, Your Right

In principle self-directed support provides an ideal way to modernise social care to make it consistent with human rights. In practice the challenges of implementation mean that there is still a long way to go.

Scotland's Self-Directed Support Act 2013 created a world-leading legislative framework for enabling its citizens to maintain their place in community life, whatever their age, impairment or health. Different forms of budget management also enable people to get the level of control that is right for them and their families. Flexibility and creativity should be central to the delivery of care and support, strengthening community connections and avoiding segregation.

However these changes have come against a backdrop of austerity and the uncertain challenges of health and social integration. Systems tend to interpret innovations in the light of older practices; this can quickly limit the opportunity for real transformation. In the past commissioning systems have tended to disempower, not just people, but also community organisations (who are often converted into mere 'providers' by the current discourse) and in particular, frontline support staff. There has been constant pressure to reduce salaries and undermine employment rights. Too often the battle to advance independent living and human rights is being fought over the field of employment rights. This is wholly unacceptable.

This important paper sets the scene for the next stage of developments in Scotland and offers a framework for meaningful change. The authors call on leaders across Scotland to ensure that the opportunity for real and positive reform is not lost amidst other policy imperatives.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.


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