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Self-Directed Support

In February 2012, a Bill on Self-Directed Support was introduced and passed. This became the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013. This Act will be implemented on 1 April 2014. Self-directed support (SDS) is the new approach to supporting individuals and their carers who are eligible to access social care support services.

Self-directed support places the individual at the centre of the assessment and planning process. It recognises that they are best placed to understand their own needs, make choices and take more control of their lives. It aims to provide individuals with freedom, choice, flexibility and control over the social care they are assessed as requiring. It is key to achieving a Scotland where people live independently and with the right support.

Self-Directed Support in South Ayrshire

Self-Directed Support will be provided in South Ayrshire to individuals and families who are assessed as eligible to receive social care support. It will offer them individualised choice about what support they require and control over the way it is provided.

The Key Principles of Self-Directed Support are:

  • Choice
  • Control
  • Flexibility
  • Independence

What are the Self-Directed Support Options?

There are a variety of ways you can direct your assessed level of support. You are able to have as much or as little control as you choose. The Self-Directed Support legislation places a duty on South Ayrshire Council to offer you four options on the way your support is provided. Your lead professional will provide you with all the relevant information and explain the four options.

The options available are:

  • Option 1 - Direct Payment
    The Council provides you with a direct payment. This money is used to purchase care and support to meet your agreed outcomes. This option gives you the most control. Direct payments can be used to purchase services from a provider or to employ a personal assistant.
  • Option 2 - Individual Service Fund
    The funding can be held either by a provider nominated by you or the Council. You decide how the funding is used to meet your agreed outcomes and maintain choice, control and flexibility.
  • Option 3 – Council Arranged Services
    The Council arranges the support and care that you require to meet your agreed outcomes.
  • Option 4 - Mixed Package of Care and Support
    You can have the flexibility of choosing a combination of Options 1, 2 and 3 to meet your agreed outcomes.

There may be some instances when there will be restrictions around the provision of the Self Directed Support options. If any restrictions apply to you these will be discussed with you on an individual basis.

This video explains how the options for Self Directed Support works.

How do I receive Self-Directed Support?

In order to establish if you are eligible to receive Self-Directed Support you are required to be assessed by social services. Within South Ayrshire Council there are a number of stages to receiving social care support. These are explained below.

Service access

When someone is initially referred to the Council we will gather as much information as possible to help us deal with the referral appropriately. This allows us to consider your eligibility (and level of priority) for Council services. It may be most appropriate to signpost your referral to another relevant service and you will be fully informed of this decision. If it is decided you require input from formal services then the first stage of the assessment process is Enablement.

Enablement process

Enablement services are for individuals with poor physical or mental health. It helps them accommodate their illness by learning or relearning the skills necessary for daily living. The aim is to maximise your independence and build on your strengths and abilities. This will take place over a maximum period of six weeks. Enablement allows for a clear picture of your needs to be established. If you still have eligible support needs after Enablement, the next step is completing an SDS Joint Assessment.

SDS joint assessment

The Joint Assessment will fully identify your needs and the outcomes you wish to achieve. You will complete the assessment in partnership with your lead practitioner. Any potential risks will be considered during the assessment process. A plan for dealing with these risks will be developed by you and the practitioner.

Support planning

Following the Joint Assessment, you and your lead practitioner will develop a Support Plan. This will clearly state the outcomes you want to achieve and how these will be met. The Support Plan will show how any risks will be managed and what contingency arrangements are in place. At this stage you will identify which one of the four SDS options you choose for your support.

Monitoring and review

A review of your Support Plan will take place at least once a year. This will ensure that the support you receive continues to meet the outcomes in your Support Plan. Your outcomes will be reviewed along with any changes to your overall situation. At the review you will be asked if you wish to continue with your current SDS option. You may decide that you don’t wish to continue with the option chosen. This can be changed at the review stage.

The aim and ethos underpinning Self-Directed Support is to give you CHOICE in deciding how you live your life and how your support is provided. You have CONTROL in choosing what your outcomes are, how they will be met and by whom. You have FLEXIBILITY regarding the four options available to help ensure you can enjoy living as INDEPENDENT a life as possible.

If you have any further enquiries regarding Self-Directed Support please contact:

South Ayrshire Council
Telephone: 0300 123 0900

Useful links

The Scottish Government has produced National Guides which aim to provide practical guidance for people who use support, for carers, and for practitioners.

This link will direct you to a practice guide for Self Directed Support written for people intending to organise and manage their own support arrangements.

This link will direct you to a practice guide for Self Directed Support written for Carers of people intending to organise and manage their own support arrangements.


South Ayrshire Council
Telephone: 0300 123 0900

Ayrshire Independent Living Network

Self Directed Support Scotland

Scottish Government

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