Blog: “SDS can help put people in the driving seat of their own lives”

Linda Tuthill, Chief Executive of the Action Group and contributor to our Insights Podcasts series, on the blocks that must be removed to ensure Self-Directed Support can be truly empowering

I am passionate about people who use any services having the power and control in their own hands. There are many ways this can happen, through person-centred support services, involvement, and self-advocacy support.

A main way is for the person to have the money in their own hands or in their own name, managed in a way that gives them as much control and flexibility as possible. It also means giving people the choice to not have this if that is not where they are at in their life. It should never be forced on anyone. But instead, if the right support is in place, it is hoped that more and more supported people and carers will opt for Self-Directed Support (SDS).

When done right, SDS is empowering and helps really put the person in the driving seat of their own lives and support. When done badly (i.e. the person isn’t given the support to know what they can buy with their money or there are not the options to buy etc) then nothing really changes.

Sadly, there are also a lot of blocks in the system preventing full implementation of SDS in Scotland, in the spirit of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013. These include:

• Social workers not knowing about SDS

• SDS not being offered at assessment stage

• Bureaucracy being put in place with complicated systems to access SDS, putting off those who want support and organisations who feel unable to engage fully with SDS due to this complexity.

There are also simply the time and capacity barriers that people desperate for support face, that carers face and that staff in Councils and social care organisations face. This has potentially never been more of an issue as it is now due to post-pandemic pressures.

To really get SDS pushed forward we need investment in all parts of the system, including social care organisations that are often best placed to “sell” SDS and to provide innovative solutions to those who then have their own budgets. Without proper investment I am not optimistic that the postcode lottery of SDS take-up will improve beyond what Audit Scotland concluded in 2017.

However, as an optimist I hold on to the hope that the implementation gap will close further through the efforts of the many self-advocates and SDS organisations that exist to promote this important right for everyone who accesses social care now and in the future. My organisation will continue to play its part by continuing to work together with our many SDS funders, with options 1 and 2, and to empower others to move to SDS if this is what they want and help them to work with social work for this to happen.

CCPS’s ethical commissioning workstream, of which its Insights Podcasts series on SDS are a part, helps focus debate and energy around SDS. We need that energy so it doesn’t end up being just great legislation with continued poor or patchy implementation, but instead great legislation with great impact in the lives of everyone in Scotland – given that most of us need support at some point in our lives.

SDS matters to us all!

Listen to our Insights Podcast series. Linda appears on episode 2, which focuses on person-centred care and SDS.

Find out more about the Action Group

“We won’t give up in our Fair Work calls”

Comment: Rachel Cackett responds to the passing of the 2024-25 Budget and its implications for not for profit social care providers

Responding to today’s Stage 3 debate in parliament and the passing of the 2024-25 Budget, Rachel Cackett, CEO of CCPS, said:

“Social care was conspicuous by its absence in the Budget debate this afternoon. We are deeply disappointed to see no movement on the £12ph pay announcement for our not-for-profit member organisations.

“Paying skilled social care staff no more than the Real Living Wage will continue to undermine recruitment and retention.

“Ultimately, this will have profoundly negative implications for people who need support and their carers, for the NHS, for our economy and for any aspiration of equality and opportunity.

“To CCPS members who have campaigned for better: a huge thank you, and we won’t give up in our calls for #FairWork.”

“Some days, it feels like we literally hold people’s lives in our hands”

As part of our Rethink To 13 series, a support practitioner in Sense Scotland’s short breaks service tells us about the impact a pay increase to £13 would have on her, the workforce – and the people they support

“As a support practitioner in a respite unit for young people and adults with complex needs, I wear many hats, and perform so many roles in a day. I am carer, friend, cook, nurse, driver, emotional/physical outlet, entertainer, advocate, teacher, family, to name a few.

Some days, it feels like we literally hold people’s lives in our hands. I am paid the Living Wage for only one of these roles. Raising the wage to at least £13 an hour would not only allow us to feel more appreciated and valued within these roles, it would encourage experienced staff to stay within the care sector.

We do this job to the best of our ability and because we care. But in turn, we also need to feel that we are cared for. My role requires me to be registered with the SSSC, a professional body. However, we still are classed as unskilled workers. The roles we perform are anything but unskilled.

I have stayed with people in their hour of need, providing end of life care, ensuring they are not alone and feel safe and loved. Not because my role required this, but because this is what everyone deserves.

Raising the hourly rate of pay would lead to a happier, less stressed workforce, allowing us to focus on the care that the people receiving support deserve. This would enable them to have more confidence in the people caring for them and offer a happier, more positive experience of care.

It would also encourage others to look into a career in care, offering more diversity, skills and experience, which would enhance the level of service we can provide for the people we support.”

Find out more about Sense Scotland

Read more about our Rethink To 13 campaign




Rethink To 13 interview: “Our work deserves recognition. £13 an hour would be a step forward”

Continuing our campaign calling on the government to rethink its Budget, Dementia Care Worker Jacqui says that upping pay would ultimately improve the quality of care and support people receive

“I’m Jacqui, a Dementia Care Worker at the Mungo Foundation. Every day I see the impact that our staff have on the lives of the people we support and their families. Our work deserves recognition, appreciation and a fair wage. A wage of £13/hour would be a positive step in the right direction.

I have been working as a Dementia Care worker at Bankhall Court for over a decade. My role involves providing personalised care for individuals with dementia, focusing on enhancing their quality of life. Whether it’s personal care or emotional support and companionship, I approach every interaction with empathy and compassion that is tailored to their individual needs.

I believe that my contributions have been invaluable to the people I care for. My support and companionship make people feel valued and supported, positively impacting their overall wellbeing. Increasing my pay to £13 per hour would make a significant difference in my ability to provide even better care. It would alleviate financial stress, enabling me to focus on the needs of the people I support without distraction.

I hold multiple qualifications essential to providing high-quality care. However, I do not believe that my skills are adequately recognised in my current pay. £13 an hour would make a significant difference in people’s lives. It would allow our organisation to recruit more staff, alleviating the strain on the current workforce. Ultimately improving the quality of care and support that people receive.

It’s important to remember that around 90,000 people in Scotland have dementia, and two thirds of people with dementia live at home. By paying social care staff £13 an hour, the Scottish Government can ensure that people are receiving the high-quality care that they deserve.”

Find out more about the Mungo Foundation

Read about our Rethink To 13 campaign

‘It’s time to Rethink to 13’: MSP briefing published for stage 1 debate on Budget

We’ve produced a briefing for MSPs on Fair Work for Scotland’s social care staff, with an explanation of why the Scottish Government must now reconsider pay for social care staff

We’ve produced a briefing for MSPs on Fair Work for Scotland’s social care staff, with an explanation of why the Scottish Government must now Rethink To 13.

Download and read the briefing

The briefing was sent to a targeted list of MSPs ahead of today’s Stage 1 Debate on the 2024-25 Budget at Holyrood.

It features suggested questions to ask in the chamber on Thursday, key facts and stats on social care pay, and evidence from our current #RethinkTo13 campaign.

The Stage 1 debate on the budget is being held in a period of crisis for the social care sector, with provider organisations increasingly unable to recruit and retain staff due to lack of Fair Work.

As we reported last year, an average of 52% of staff who moved jobs in 2022 left the social care sector altogether (2022 Social Care Benchmarking Report).

Through the Rethink To 13 campaign we’re sharing stories from support workers in the sector about what a pay increase to a minimum of £13 per hour would mean to them and its positive impact on services and people receiving support.

A final debate on the 2024-25 Budget is due to be held at the end of February before it is passed by parliament.

Rethink To 13 interview: “Who looks after my mental health, while I look after others?” 

As part of our campaign calling for the government to rethink pay commitments in the 2024-25 Budget, Partners for Inclusion Support Practitioner Natalie tells us about the impact a wage increase could have

“I have been a support practitioner for 20 years and in that time a lot has changed. My role has become increasingly more complex with many new health and social care skills to learn. However, one thing that hasn’t changed over time is the unfair rate of pay!

Compared to others with similar skill sets and responsibilities like teaching assistants, community support and NHS care assistants, support practitioners work the last 3.5 months of the year for nothing. That is how big the pay gap is!

I work with someone who experiences poor mental health and since the pandemic and Brexit we have struggled to recruit support practitioners. This has an impact on me and the person I support.

People’s mental health deteriorated during Covid and as a result our workload has increased.

This has meant working longer hours and often missing days off and not having as much time as we would like to attend to our own mental health and self-care. This has an effect on the relationships I have with my family and friends because at times there are just not enough hours in the week.

Having a fairer rate of pay would encourage people into the sector and retain the staff we have and as a result there would be less people suffering from burn-out and sickness.

One in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace and evidence shows that 12.7% of all sickness is attributed to mental ill health.

Having a fairer pay rate would mean I have time and money to look after myself and in turn mean I would be in an even better position to ensure supported people live their lives to the full.”

Partners for Inclusion is an independent charity providing individualised support for people with learning disabilities and/or mental health services. Find out more.

Visit our campaigns page for more information on Rethink To 13.

Comment: When will we see the government’s values of ‘community, equality and opportunity’ reflected in investment in social care?

Our CEO Rachel Cackett responds to publication of the 2024-25 Budget

Responding to Tuesday’s announcement of the 2024-25 Budget, Rachel Cackett, CEO of CCPS, said:

“It’s very disappointing to see the social care sector overlooked, under-discussed and lacking in committed investment.

The government says public services need reform to be sustainable, particularly the NHS.

Government needs not-for-profit social care providers to deliver more prevention and early intervention for that to happen.

But to do that, providers need to still be here and to be sustainable.

Announcements yesterday reiterated that the base rate of pay would increase to £12 per hour for care and support staff starting in April 2024.

That means pay for our regulated, trained and largely female workforce will continue to remain unacceptably low in the context of rising living costs, a sector recruitment and retention crisis, and ever-growing demand for social care services.

This budget doesn’t address the current crisis in social care and doesn’t invest for the future.

Tougher budgets mean tougher decisions, but choice is what governs decision-making. And choices reflect the true values of the Scottish Government.

If the Scottish Government wants to be true to its words on ‘community, equality and opportunity’, we must see those values reflected in investment in our sector.

But this isn’t over: there is still time invest in the future of Scotland.

We are calling on the Scottish Government to Rethink To £13 per hour, at least, for social care and support staff as a first step in a timetable to equity.”

CCPS is currently analysing the full budget to assess the real terms impact of the announcement on social care spending across government portfolios.


Link to our Rethink To 13 campaign

Link to Scottish Budget

News: “Future engagement on FOI needs to include all social care providers”

Our CEO responds to the Scottish Government’s move to delay a full consultation on access to information rights

The Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision not to extend Freedom of Information legislation to cover third sector organisations, including all not-for-profit social care providers.

The government now plans instead to consult on the extension of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act to private and third sector providers of care homes and care-at-home services.

However, the consultation will not proceed until after the National Care Service Bill has been passed, it announced last week. The move follows a consultation on access to information rights in Scotland launched a year ago.

Commenting in response, CCPS’s CEO Rachel Cackett said:

“Right now, every single day, not-for-profit providers of care and support are struggling. They face massive holes in available public service funding, a crisis in staffing, and too little resource to meet need in our communities, which only increases as the cost-of-living crisis worsens.

“So a full, detailed, engagement with social care providers – from the largest to the smallest – to work out the best and most proportionate way to implement any changes to FOI duties so that new demands do not reduce services, but can support people’s access to information, is right.

“But it is also right to delay the consultation for now and we welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement.

“We have to remember that FOI legislation was not written for our sector of diverse providers, and so any changes need to be made with us or it simply won’t work as intended.”

During the 2016 to 2021 session of the Scottish Parliament, the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee reviewed existing FOI legislation. The Scottish Government responded to the Committee’s report on 25 February 2021.

Read the Scottish Government’s response to the access to information rights consultation

Comment: “Social care could be the gift that keeps on giving for Scotland. But only if the government rethinks its budget”

Marking the launch of our new Rethink To 13 campaign, Rachel Cackett argues that £12 p/h for staff is too low, is ethically wrong, and flies in the face of what Scotland need to enjoy equality, opportunity and community

On the 19th December, during the last week of 2023 for the Scottish Parliament, the government will publish its draft budget.

In unprecedented times, we are hoping for something a bit different from this budget.

For years now, there have been calls for the Scottish Government to be far more transparent in setting out how its draft budget is intended to match investment to its stated priorities. This is a primary task of government: To ensure that funds raised from the public are invested in the things the democratically elected government has told us are important.

And when things are tight, justifying the allocation of too few resources to those things that a government says matters most is more important than ever.

So, perhaps the government can do something different this year.

The first minister has stated that all funding decisions must deliver against three things:

  1. Equality, by tackling poverty and protecting people from harm during the cost-of-living crisis
  2. Opportunity through a fair, green and growing wellbeing economy that can support improved living standards, reduce poverty, and sustain high quality public services, and
  3. Community by prioritising public services – building sustainability and reducing inequality.

So, perhaps we can expect the budget to be structured to show clearly how decisions to invest – and disinvest – will deliver these.

Perhaps, for example, we will see a commitment to the funding of sustainable social care services that support families facing poverty or destitution in the current financial climate to stay afloat, to keep a home, to feed their families and keep children in school.

Or to services that support disabled people, or people with long term health conditions – who face a myriad of daily inequities – to maintain their right to independent living and stay well in their own homes.

Or to mental health services that help prevent adults and children reaching crisis – and stop yet more people waiting too long for NHS services that just aren’t there – so that they can live connected, engaged lives as participants in work, school, family and community.

Or to the availability of social care and support for everyone who needs it so that unpaid carers can maintain jobs that can keep their families afloat.

Or to those staff in our sector, overwhelmingly women, who provide care and support to some of the most vulnerable members of my family and yours – but are paid far less than those in the public sector to do equivalent jobs simply because the government doesn’t provide enough funds.

Staff who may often work – and spend their wages – in the communities they support. Staff who are often working part time to juggle their unpaid caring responsibilities.   Staff who desperately need equality, opportunity and community.

You see, social care and support – ever the Cinderella of public service investment – could be the FM’s answer this Christmas. It could be the gift that keeps on giving; the glue that binds his priorities to effective investment. But it’s only possible with a workforce to deliver it.

And there’s the issue.

Half the people who moved jobs in our sector last year left social care altogether. And the unethical approach to embedding pay inequity into public service delivery means staff continue to leave and social care isn’t always there when you, or I, or our loved ones need it.

The FM has already imposed a £12 p/h pay deal for social care and support staff in our sector next year and, sadly, we expect to see this confirmed in the draft Budget on 19 December. But this won’t help the government meet its own budget priorities; it will undermine them.

So, Scottish Government, rethink your budget.

Investing at the very least £13 p/h in 2024-25 for all social care staff in our sector is the absolute minimum that will cut it – and that only as a first step in a plan to reach parity in pay.

£12 is too low; it’s ethically wrong; and it flies in the face of what you’ve told us it matters to invest in and what many people in Scotland need to enjoy equality, opportunity and community.

Please. Rethink your budget.


Find out more about the campaign here.

Social care commissioning system is ‘out of whack’, new publication finds

Eight sector leaders provide perspectives on the viability of ethical commissioning and procurement, through interviews with journalist Pennie Taylor

A new publication from the Coalition of Care & Support Providers (CCPS) explores the viability of an ethical approach to planning and purchasing social care, with eight sector leaders providing their perspectives on the current landscape through interviews with journalist Pennie Taylor.

The publication, “It’s out of whack!”,  highlights how commissioning and procurement has a significant impact on the delivery of support services, sustainability of providers, the workforce and on people receiving support.

Download the publication (PDF)

Interviewees consider how meaningful partnership, community-level co-production and innovative thinking could address unprecedented service challenges.

As reflected in the publication title, which draws on a comment from C-Change CEO Sam Smith, the consensus view is that the commissioning system as it stands is unbalanced.

CEOs, directors and managers interviewed make clear the risks not implementing reform poses to providers, and the major steps still required to realise the “collaborative, rights-based and participative approach” that was outlined in Derek Feeley’s Independent Review of Adult Scotland Care.

Catherine Garrod, CCPS Programme Manager – Commissioning and Procurement, said: “The expert voices in these interviews demonstrate how Third Sector care and support providers already deliver high quality personalised care and support and work to improve the outcomes of the people they support, in spite of the system.

“These are voices that need to be heard and included in finding the solutions to make the shift we all want – and need – to see for people who require support.

Pennie Taylor said: “The concept of ethical commissioning and procurement has been embedded in the proposals for a National Care Service for Scotland, but a new way of working cannot wait for that. Instead, the people I spoke to for “It’s out of whack!” all want to see action taken to galvanise change, using existing legislation to kickstart widespread reform without delay

“These features spotlight great examples of doing things differently, and describe first-hand experience of current practice that is far from ethical. They eloquently demonstrate the passion, commitment and creativity that keeps the Third Sector going, whatever the odds.”

Interviewees in the publication are Ben Bradbury, Business Development Manager, Capability Scotland; Ian Bruce, CEO, Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector; Drew Collier, Director of Development, includem; Dr Ron Culley, Chief Officer, Quarriers; Louise Moth, Contracts & Commissioning Manager, Scottish Autism; Julie Murray, Chief Officer, HSPC; Sam Smith, CEO of C-Change; and Andrew Thomson, Deputy Chief Executive, Carr Gomm.

The publication was commissioned by CCPS’s Commissioning and Procurement Programme, which is funded by the Scottish Government.

Find out more about the Commissioning and Procurement Programme