Renfrewshire Council

Self-Directed Support

Self Directed Support (SDS) is a term that describes the ways in which eligible individuals and families can have more informed choice and control over how their social care is provided to them, to meet their assessed needs. 

SDS comes from the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, which became law on 1 April 2014.

In implementing SDS, we are:

  • Ensuring individuals and families are provided with the help they need to be part of their community and wider society
  • Facilitating individuals' and families' right to dignity
  • Ensuring individuals and families are actively involved in deciding their outcomes and planning and delivering their support arrangements, and
  • Providing the assistance needed for individuals and families to make informed choices about their support arrangements.

How SDS works

SDS gives people control over an individual budget and lets them choose how it is spent to meet their assessed social care needs.

Eligible people will have four options as to how their individual budget is used:

  • The person chooses to take the budget as cash via a direct payment  (Direct Payment)
  • The person chooses to select their support and have the local authority make arrangements to provide it on their behalf (Directing the Available Support)
  • The person chooses to have the local authority select their support and make arrangements to provide it on their behalf (Arranged Services), or
  • The person chooses a mix of these three options for different types of support (Mixed Package).

What SDS can be used for

SDS can be used to purchase things like:

  • Local authority services or services from voluntary or private sector organisations to support independent living. This might be support to get washed and dressed, manage medication, or get out and about.
  • Physical products such as equipment that supports living independently at home.
  • A short break or respite.
  • Something else that meets the assessed social care needs.

Direct Payments

When a person chooses a direct payment, the local authority makes cash payments into a bank account set up for that purpose, instead of arranging services.  

Direct Payments offer the maximum choice and control over how an individual budget is used to meet agreed needs and gives the person the most responsibility for managing their support.

For example, people who choose Direct Payments may decide to employ a personal assistant (PA) to meet a number of their agreed needs in the way that best suits them. 

Anyone who chooses to employ a PA will take on legal and other employer responsibilities for example, ensuring that the PA is legally allowed to work in the UK and managing their pay and working conditions.

Direct Payment users have to keep records of their spending and the Council will monitor how the money is spent to ensure it relates to the outcomes identified for individuals.

Some people are excluded from receiving a direct payment by legislation. This includes people who are subject to compulsory measures of care under mental health and criminal justice legislation. The other SDS options remain available to people subject to these exclusions.

Free support and advice for unpaid carers regarding Self Directed Support is available from local voluntary organisation Renfrewshire Carers Centre.