Self-directed support means that the supported person becomes the purchaser leading to a change in the commissioning task from planning support purchasing at a population level to facilitating choice for individuals.

Section 19 of the Social Care (Self‐directed Support) (Scotland) Act, 2013 states: “For the purpose of making available to supported persons a wide range of support when choosing options for self-directed support, a local authority must, in so far as is reasonably practicable, promote— (a) a variety of providers of support, and; (b) the variety of support provided by it, and other providers.”

What does it mean for the person receiving support?

With the move towards more individuals holding their own budgets (either under option 1 or option 2 of the Act) supported people become their own commissioners. For them to have meaningful choice they must have a range of services in their area to choose from.

What does it mean for the support provider?

Providers need the skills to participate in, critique and use SDS commissioning strategies to shape their offer to meet people’s needs and preferences.

Providers will need to develop their skills in marketing to individuals and marketing approaches that fit with their core values. [Check out our Marketing Category]

What are some of the challenges?

Commissioning relationships are often adversarial. Contract- led relationships between providers and commissioners have created a low trust environment that stifles innovation and discourages true co-production and innovative practice.