Self-directed Support means that the supported person becomes the purchaser. This means that commissioning needs to move from market management to market facilitation.

Our current models of commissioning and procurement (the way that support services are planned and purchased) will need to change to make Self-directed Support a reality. Current approaches do not maximise control for the individual and may restrict choice through the use of restrictive frameworks and over specified contracts.

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.”

This section of the Act makes clear that it isn’t enough to offer the individual choice and control; contracting authorities must take steps in the way they plan and purchase care and support to make sure that people have support to choose between.  This aspect of commissioning is known as ‘market facilitation’.

Providers are more than simply suppliers of care and support. They have firsthand knowledge of people’s needs and preferences and useful data that can be used to inform both market facilitation and other commissioning strategies.