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LDAS has now published its report on Self Directed Support two years on. Read the full report here. This article was in our November newsletter.

Self Directed Support was the Scottish Government’s plan to transform social care in Scotland.    It had two main aims.

First it gave people more choice over who from and how they got their support from.  

Second it was to make the lives of people with social care needs better by improving the “outcome” of the support they got.

Two years on from the implementation of the Self Directed Support Scotland Act we surveyed people with learning disabilities all over Scotland to find out what had happened. 

Half of the people who responded to us had got a Self Directed Support Package and half hadn’t.   That allowed us to compare what difference SDS made.  



South Ayrshire Council has become the first Council in Scotland to adopt the Charter for Involvement.

The charter was put together by the National Involvement Network (NIN) and shows how people who use support services want to be involved in their services, with their service organisations and with the wider community. 

It will be used as a guide for Council staff to tell them what is ‘good practice’ when it comes to health and to social care.

It will also be used by the Integrated Joint Board that looks after health and social care needs in South Ayrshire.

NIN say the Charter is one of a kind because it has been written by people who use services to help services providers do their job better and that will help everyone.

What this means for people with learning disabilities who live in South Ayrshire is that the Council has made a promise to work together with them to help meet their needs and make an action together for better services in the future.

Councillor Rita Miller from South Ayrshire Council said the Council will use the Charter to make sure people with learning disabilities are “listened to and respected.” 


The Herald's story on the shocking treatment of Margaret McEwan from Glasgow shows some of the real challenges that people with learning disabilities face in Scotland today.Stephen Naysmith wrote on Saturday 25th Of October. "Margaret McEwan epitomises Scotland's journey towards a more humane way of dealing with vulnerable elderly and disabled people. Her supporters hope she doesn't end up being a symbol of the collapse of those hopes.   Freed from the notorious Lennox Castle 20 years ago, Margaret was taken into the bosom of a loving family, where her life has been transformed. But now she faces being denied that home life."  Read More Here.  

Margaret who has learning disabilities and a visual impairment is being asked to move into a care home to save the council money.   

In Scotland there is a new national strategy called the Keys to Life designed to prioritise the things that are important to people with learning disabilities.  It doesn't seem to help in this case.    There is also a national strategy to promote Self Directed Support, a policy designed to give more choice to people who need support. It doesn't seem to help in this case.  It seems that councils can choose to do whatever they want instead of national policies.

 Some of the results of this approach in Glasgow can be seen in this chart published by the Care Inspectorate last week.  It shows the change in Social Work spending in Glasgow and in Scotland over the last 9 years.  

The figures in green show the areas that now spend proportionately more and those in the red the ones that spend less.   We can see that in most of Scotland spending on services for people with learning disability has gone up.  While in Glasgow spending on people with learning disabilities and other adult groups has been transferred over to services and support for children and older people.  Councillors often say that Glasgow has been cut, this chart says it is really about priorities.  

Glasgow is making a choice in treating Margaret this way and it is the wrong choice!





Significant worries were raised in Perth and Kinross recently when the local council announced a plan to consider care homes for everyone who Individual Budget came to 10% more than the cost of a care home place.  This arose out a plan to transform social care services.  But rather than improve things this ran the risk of taking things back to the last century.   

The consultation process for this measure was wholly inappropriate and inadequate. The timescales given to family carers who lead incredibly busy and stressful caring roles were totally unrealistic. A letter was written on the 8th August 2016 and by the time the families received it there was less than 3 weeks to respond. The closing date was the 31st August 2016.  

This type of proposal goes against all national government policies and legislation. It fundamentally breaches the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities supported within The Scottish Government’s Draft Delivery Plan 2016-2020. It is totally discriminatory and has placed huge stress on family carers who are supporting their family member to lead a valued and included life within their community.

Fortunately in the last week, Perth and Kinross have agreed to put things on hold and make no changes until there is much wider consultation.  The council said 

“we accept our initial consultation process has raised concerns and therefore we are going to take much more time to discuss and consider all the options from stakeholders ... we will shortly be communicating how and when we are going to undertake the work.”  

Unfortunately this does not mean the proposal has gone away for good and disabled people and their families will have to keep aware about this.  


in December we said in 11 councils people were getting less Direct Payments  after the Act came in than they had before.  New figures including the take up of other options were published in July 2016 and show that both Falkirk and Inverclyde actually did better than that getting more people into SDS packages than the previous year.   But the 8 of others were still doing worse than the year before SDS was introduced. 

Glasgow has been undergoing its Personalisation process since 2009 and says that over 1700 people are now getting Option 2.  We think this shows a problem with just using numbers to explore SDS.   Glasgow worked out the cost of service for these people, then transferred that money to their existing social care provider in their name and declared that was their equivalent to Option 2.  

After our earlier article Social Work Scotland wrote to us to complain that we were being unfair.   They said that SDS must be about more than just how many people make the choice, it must be about the outcomes people get.  We agree.  It’s a shame that councils’ don’t publish any information on the outcomes that people get from SDS. 

As a result, the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland has decided to carry out its annual survey on the experience of people with learning disabilities with SDS.   We also welcome the views of family and paid carers.  You can be one of the first to complete our survey here.