In our last newsletter we published a report on official government statistics published in November 2015 which showed that there had been slow progress with Direct Payments despite all the effort with the introduction of Self Directed Support. We said in the article that we couldn’t be sure until further statistics were published in 2016.
This additional information should have more on the other options included in Self Directed Support and allow everyone to make a better judgement on what has been happening- although the Scottish Government has already said that this information will be partial and will be published as “Data Under Development”. However Falkirk Council has contacted us to express their concern that these figures do not accurately reflect their work.
They have 24 people who are recorded as SDS Option 4 (mixed support options.) which if added to the 40 recorded in the Scottish Government statistics would mean that they had increased the number of Direct Payments users in 2014-15 to 64, an increase of 4 rather than a fall of 20. Other councils may be in a similar position.
The changed position for Falkirk is made clear in the chart below. The total number of Direct Payment recipients has increased in total by four in the last year. However it is also true that the total number of Direct Payment recipients in Falkirk has increased in total by only 4 since 2005. Overall hardly much of a change. In fact, if Falkirk had been following the national trend of 10% increase in Direct Payments year on year before SDS, there should have been 66 people on Direct Payments and not 64!
Source: Scottish Government Social Care Statistics 2015
Falkirk does have a very innovative Short Breaks service that really helps people make the most of respite opportunities. This is the kind of project that many other councils should develop to make the most of Individual Service Funds.
However the point of our article in December was to demonstrate that despite the large amounts of investment (Falkirk alone received £1.43 million from 2012 to 2014) and the new law and plenty of guidance, the landscape of choice for people who need support has not been radically changed. As we said in December “So far, the jury is still out on SDS and we will look forward to the publication of more detailed SDS information [later this] year.”