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More choice in social care says new research

This news post is over 1 year old

Integration is key

New research says people accessing self-directed support (SDS) in Scotland believe that it had improved their social care experience.

Between November 2018 and February 2020, over 600 people took part in the largest direct consultation about people’s experiences SDS to date.  

The research, published today by Self Directed Support Scotland (SDSS) and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland was funded by the Scottish Government and includes  evidence, analysis and recommendations for improvement to SDS/social care in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research participants acknowledged SDS as important to achieving a higher quality of life and independent living, with one participant saying: “SDS basically is the a la carte of the care system. Previously the local authority provided this care, you had no choice.”

However, there are some key improvements that would respond to people’s concerns, build on existing good practice and increase the effectiveness and reach of positive SDS/ social care experiences.

Ian Welsh, chief executive of Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, said: “The vision is that people have a strong voice, enjoy their right to live well, and are at the centre of decision making. Having choice and control over self-directed support is a key element of this for many thousands of people around the country.

“We therefore welcomed the opportunity to lead work with our to gather the views of people across Scotland about what works well – and less well – as they access social care.

“The findings from this important research help fill a gap in the data about people’s experiences, and demonstrate a range of improvements to ensure social care is better focused on the rights, needs and wishes of people, families, and unpaid carers.

“We commend this report to the Scottish Government, local authorities, and health and social care partnerships to assist their strategic planning and delivery of future SDS/ social care.”

Donald Macleod, chief executive of SDSS, added: “ What is important is what happens as a result of this report.  SDS Scotland assures its membership that we will engage with Scottish Government, as their delivery partner in the implementation of the SDS strategy, in order to operationalise the learning from my support my choice. Significant interest from local authorities and health and social care partnerships in the findings may support local planning, given its reflection of the diversity of the local application of the statute. We look forward to a positive dialogue with those funding SDS, informed by this richness of experience.”

MSMC asked people questions about how they got information about SDS, how much choice and control they had over their social care, communication and relationships with social work, care staff recruitment, training and quality, and their access to independent advocacy, advice and support.

“My Support, My Choice: User Experiences of Self-directed Support in Scotland – National Report (October 2020)” is now available to read online ( or, with an Easy Read version also available.



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