What is Self-Directed Support?

Self-Directed Support (SDS) is a person-centred and flexible approach to organising and managing people’s social care support. Eligibility is assessed through medical and social care professions, and if applicable, payments are made directly to the care provider to implement the care plan.

Self-Directed Support – a step-by-step guide

Step 1. Identify that support is needed.

Step 2. Contact your local health authority to ask if you’re eligible for support.

Step 3. The local authority will assess eligibility in what’s known as an eligibility assessment. 

If eligible, an assessment officer from the social work department assesses the level of support needed and collaboratively creates a care plan for implementation. 

Step 4. A support plan is put in place detailing how you can be supported. 

You can create the plan yourself or with help from your social work team, friends, and family. During this stage, you choose how you want your support to be provided through SDS using one or more of the ‘four SDS options’. 

These are:

  • Option 1.

Money is paid as a direct payment and used to employ a personal assistant (PA). This may also be used to pay support organisations or for equipment and/or services that help meet the health & welfare needs and desired outcomes of your person-centred plan.

  • Option 2.

The local authority or a preferred, appropriate organisation, (sometimes only those on local authority preferred list) holds the care plan money. However, the cared for person oversees how that money it is spent, in line with their support plan, so they choose the services and organisations they prefer. 

From here, the local authority organises and pays for person’s choice, but this can vary depending on the local authority.

  • Option 3.

The local authority organises and manages the care fund money and support on behalf of the individual. Here’s a helpful link about emerging practices for option 3 and another for self-directed support in Scotland.

  • Option 4.

You choose a mixture of the above three options. For example, you can have option 2 to employ your preferred/chosen service, with option 1 to directly fund a PA for specific activities/tasks. 

Step 5. The final health plan is agreed. It’s then implemented, with funds being used to employ necessary support and care. 

Step 6. Recruitment. This will either involve employing staff or the services required to fulfil the support plan. 

Step 7. Finally, there should be regular care plan reviews. These ensure all your needs are being met and to establish changes that may be required.