Concept of science.

Audit Scotland progress report: let’s move from diagnosis to action

Self-directed Support (SDS) gives people greater choice and control over their support. The 2013 Social Care (Self-directed Support), Act set out in law how this choice and control should be offered to people and established this as the mainstream approach to social care in Scotland.

Voluntary sector providers have been at the forefront of developing tailored, personalised support and offering a range of different types of support, responding to people’s choices and preferences.   These include personalised recruitment; flexible respite; co-produced creative support packages and making support more user-led. 

Audit Scotland’s 2017 progress report on implementation clearly sets out the progress made, and the work still to be done to make SDS the mainstream approach to social care.

We welcome the findings of the report.  It reinforces the experiences of CCPS members and other voluntary sector care and support providers that despite significant effort and investment we’re not seeing the pace and scale of change needed.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that Self-directed Support is helping many people with support needs to live more fulfilling lives. However, there is no evidence of the transformation required to fully implement the policy.”

Ronnie Hinds Acting Chair, Accounts Commission

SDS is a radical change, in a complex system. so it is helpful that the report take a systems view of the barriers to implementation and give clear recommendations for action across  all the sectors and organisations responsible.

“It is always futile to seek a single ‘cause’ for a system being the way it is”  Donald Schön

Providers can and do provide flexible, personalised, outcomes based support for supported people. However the current operating environment is very difficult and this has to be acknowledged in any discussion about SDS implementation.

Price- based competitive (re) tendering; relentless downward pressure on budgets for external services; directive commissioning; over- specified procurement and power driven relationships make delivering the sustainable, good quality, innovative support to meet people’s needs, very challenging.

With SDS the person should become their own commissioner- choosing the support that best meets their needs. This fundamentally changes the relationships in commissioning and purchasing towards collaboration and partnership.

The recommendations in the report on commissioning, Option 2 frameworks, contract flexibility and simplification of processes will, if implemented, make a major difference to the third sector’s ability to provide flexible and sustainable support.

CCPS will continue to work locally and nationally to promote alternatives to competitive tendering and support providers to make SDS happen through our Providers & Personalisation programme.

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