News release: Your Choice? Your Right? In Control on Self-Directed Support in Scotland

In Control Scotland, supported by Scottish Care and Alzheimer Scotland, has published a call to action for everyone involved in the delivery of Self-Directed Support (SDS).

Self-Directed Support: Your Choice, Your Right highlights the unacceptable gulf that exists between the human rights-based approach of Scotland’s landmark SDS legislation of 2013 and the experience of individuals across Scotland who access social care. Irrespective of the potential for radical change this legislation offers, the reality is deeply flawed; this vital new approach to social care delivery is being systematically undermined by poor understanding (by both public and professionals), inconsistent delivery, significant difficulty of access and no discernible shift in power towards the individual.  Self-Directed Support: Your Choice, Your Right has been authored by John Dalrymple (Chief Executive, In Control Scotland), Donald Macaskill (Chief Executive, Scottish Care) and Henry Simmons (Chief Executive, Alzheimer Scotland).

Self-Directed Support: Your Choice, Your Right also outlines the importance of recognising the rights of Scotland’s increasingly marginalised social care workforce in supporting the choice, power and control that underpins the individual’s right to SDS.

John Dalrymple said:

“In 2013, Scotland adopted ground-breaking self-directed support legislation, providing those who rely on the social care system with a major opportunity to take charge of our lives and to be involved to the maximum extent in all the decisions that affect us.  Many people across the country have taken advantage of the flexibility and freedom afforded by this new approach and have radically improved the quality of their everyday lives.   And yet, the full potential of self-directed support is far from being realised.   This new paper seeks to identify the barriers preventing the best outcomes being achieved - for individuals and for society as a whole – and discusses some of the human rights and workforce strategies that might assist the more effective implementation of self-directed support.”

Donald Macaskill said:

“For the SDS legislation to make the change it is designed to, we need robust implementation that respects the human rights of all who use and work in care and support.  Our report shows we are a long way from achieving that ambition.”

Henry Simmons said:

“This paper seeks to put SDS where it should be; right at the heart of a transformation in our health and social care system. Using a human rights-based approach alongside the Fair Work Framework ensures that we can deliver both truly person-centred support and much needed fair work for the social care workforce.”

Self-Directed Support: Your Choice, Your Right makes seven key recommendations:

  1. That the Scottish Government ensures that all partners develop a human rights-based approach to the implementation of SDS and a human rights-based monitoring of the implementation of SDS and that the Scottish Human Rights Commission be resourced and supported to undertake an assessment of this human-rights based implementation.
  2. The accountability of local and national government for implementing SDS must be enforced.
  3. Local authorities must move away from the time-allocation method of care assessment and delivery, which will always be at odds with any effective or meaningful implementation of SDS.
  4. The use of electronic and other contract monitoring systems need to be examined in relation not only to fiscal savings but the negative impacts these have upon the well-being of the workforce and the dignity and rights of those receiving support. A rights-based approach to SDS has to be based on reciprocal trust and mutual respect rather than suspicion and distrust.
  5. Access to information, and to all four SDS options, must be made available consistently across local authorities and in an independent, non-discriminatory way.
  6. The Fair Work Framework should be used as a method of ensuring that individual workers’ rights are reciprocated and protected. This framework should be implemented and used by commissioning bodies, organisations and individual employers.
  7. Greater focus needs to be placed on developing models of care and support that give autonomy, control, choice and decision-making to frontline workers and those whom they support rather than commissioners and contract managers.


Self-Directed Support: Your Choice, Your Right has been published by the Centre for Welfare Reform and includes a foreword from Simon Duffy, Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform.



For further information, please contact: June Dunlop, In Control Scotland, T: 0141 440 5250    E: [email protected]

Pictured below: (L-R) Henry Simmons, Donald Macaskill, John Dalrymple, Simon Duffy

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