Self Directed Support

What is it?

Self-directed support describes the different ways you can take control of the budget spent on your social care support.

It empowers you to choose how your budget is spent and can help increase the flexibility and quality of support arrangements.

You can choose to have the budget:

  • taken as a direct payment (a cash payment).

This means you could employ a personal assistant to provide support at times convenient to you.

  • allocated to a provider of their choice (sometimes called an individual service fund).

This means you are in charge of how the budget is spent but do not need to handle the money directly.  For example, you could have your own budget allocated to a local organisation who provide support that is more appropriate to your needs than what the local authority would normally provide.

  • managed by the council who will select and arrange a service for the individual.

Alternatively you can choose a mix of all these options for different types of support.

The budget can be spent on anything that meets your assessed needs and the outcomes that you have agreed with your social worker.

Who Qualifies?

If you have had an Assessment of Your Care Needs and it is determined that you have been assessed as needing services, you are likely to be eligible for self-directed support.

This assessment is carried out, with you, by a care professional to find out what your care needs are and how they might best be met. It is sometimes known as a ‘community care assessment’, ‘joint needs assessment’ or a ‘shared assessment’ (in East Ayrshire known as “My Life, My Plan”).

There are some circumstances where individuals are not eligible for Self Directed Support.

These include:

  • adults or children currently living in residential care
  • some people who are subject to certain Criminal Justice Orders

Why do you need it?

You need to have an Assessment of Your Care Needs if you want to receive help from your Local Authority with arranging or providing most care services, for example, day care or support services.

Even if you plan to arrange and fund these services yourself, it is still a good idea to get an assessment of care needs to ensure that all care and support needs are identified and that you are aware of any help that may be available to you from your Local Authority or the NHS.

To find out more about this, you will need to speak to a social worker or care manager at your local social work office.

Who is involved?

The most important person involved in the assessment is the you.  The assessment gives you the chance to talk about your needs and wishes and this information is written down and goes into preparing your care plan.

The person who carries out the assessment with the individual may be a social worker, district nurse, occupational therapist or another care professional, such as someone from the Life Planning team.  They may be the ‘lead’ care professional who is involved with your care, but they may work closely with other care professionals in preparing your care plan.  To do this, they must ask for your written permission to share specific information with other care professionals.  Information is shared in order to make the best informed assessment possible and to avoid having different professionals needing to ask you the same questions.

If you receive support from a family member, or an unpaid carer, they are entitled to a separate Carer’s Assessment of their own needs in caring for you.  They can also, with your agreement, be involved in your assessment.

You can choose to have a friend, relative or advocate present with you during the assessment, even if they are not involved directly in caring for you.

How do I get it?

You can contact your local Social Work Department and ask for an Assessment of your Care Needs.  This is known as ‘self-referral’.

You can also ask someone else to do this on your behalf.  Your GP, district nurse, member of hospital staff, local housing officer, welfare rights officer, citizens’ advice worker, relative or carer can ask for an Assessment of your Care Needs for you.

You may not receive a visit right away, as visits are carried out in order of priority of need.  Some questions will be asked during an initial phone conversation with you or your carer to find out how urgent your needs are.  If your needs are very urgent, you may receive some help immediately, before the assessment of your care needs can be arranged, but this does not take the place of a full assessment of your care needs at a later time.