Self-directed Support (SDS)

Self-directed Support (SDS) is for everyone in Scotland who needs social care services or support. This includes children, adults and unpaid carers. Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership provide support to Adults in Renfrewshire. This page explains more about SDS, how support is delivered in Renfrewshire and the options available.

SDS Direct Payment Team 

What is Self-directed Support? 

Assessment and Care Planning in Renfrewshire 

Exploring SDS options 

More information for Unpaid Carers 


Self-directed support can help people have better lives by making sure that:

  • People receiving social care people have the same freedom and choices as others at home, at work or in the community.
  • People get the kind of support they want, and where and when they want it.
  • People get support at the right time, before a crisis or emergency happens.

Main function of SDS Direct Payment Team

To promote, develop and support other professionals and service users interested in accessing a Direct Payment for Renfrewshire HSCP. The Direct Payment Team also provide a range of information, advice, training and practical support covering all aspects of SDS, including direct payments, individual budgets, mixed budgets and the responsibilities attached.

What is Self-directed Support (SDS)?

The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 gives people a range of options for how their social care is delivered, empowering people to decide how much ongoing control and responsibility they want over their own support arrangements. 

The 4 options for self-directed support

There are 4 options or choices for self-directed support. A person can choose to have lots of control over their care and support or they can leave most of the decisions and work to the local council. Or they can have a mix

Option 1

Direct Payment 

The local council will decide how much money can be spent on the person's support.

The person uses the money to arrange their own support, employ care staff or buy a service from a care organisation.

Option 2

Person decides and the local council arranges support

Budget allocated to a care and support provider that the individual chooses where the council or funder holds the budget but the person is in charge of how it is spent

Option 3

Service is arranged by the local authority at the request of the service user

Option 4

Individuals can choose a mixture of all three of the above for different types of support.


For further information about SDS (along with easy read guide to SDS from the Scottish Government and Enable), please see the national website-

Assessment and care planning in Renfrewshire

How SDS works in Renfrewshire

If you think that you need care and support, you can call ASeRT (tel no. 0300 300 1380), the telephone referral service for Renfrewshire HSCP, or speak to a health and social care professional or your GP.

A referral will be made from ASeRT to your locality adult services social work duty team to allow for a screening process to take place. This will determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria for a formal assessment of your needs.

A formal assessment will focus on identifying your personal outcomes, which includes what is important to you, and where you may need support to achieve your outcomes. This will include exploring the application of the Self-directed Support (Scotland) Act 2013 and the 4 options. This will be guided by your assessed personal budget that can be used to form the basis of your future care plans.

If you are not eligible for social care support, a staff member will signpost you to useful services in your local community e.g. for information and advice or for support from local community and voluntary organisations.

Supported Person's Pathway (reference: Statutory guidance to accompany the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013):


I need support

You decide you need support, sometimes a friend or relative will suggest that you contact social services to ask about support.

First contact

You contact the local social work services.  Sometimes another person or organisation will contact them to ask if you can get support.

Eligibility & Assessment

The local authority will check if you can get support.  If you are eligible for support a professional will start to look at what kind of support you may need.  He or she will talk to you and work with you when doing this.

Support planning

This step will produce a plan for how you can be supported. During this planning you will choose how you will want your support provided.

Agreeing the final plan

You and the professional agree the final support plan.


You follow the plan and get the support you need.


After a time there will be a review to check if your needs have changed.

For those who are entitled to Free Personal Care and Free Carers Respite  - SDS budget is agreed and can only be used for the outcomes identified i.e. personal care and respite.

Services that are means tested - Key worker is responsible for advising the person and requesting client contribution from the community team. The Local Authority and the supported person might share the cost of the support, the client contribution needs to be paid to ensure the total budget is available to meet assessed needs and outcomes.

Exploring SDS options

After you have:

  • been assessed as needing support ✔
  • had a conversation with your social worker about what matters to you in your life ✔
  • had a conversation with your social care worker about what kind of support you might want ✔
  • been given a budget for your support ✔

the professional working with you will offer you a choice of options of how you want to get your support.

Choosing the right options for you.

Option 1: Direct Payment (a cash payment) to the service users to organise their own care and support.

What is option 1? Option 1 is often called a direct payment. It is a payment made to you with which you can buy support. You can do this on your own or you can get help from family, friends and support organisations.

How can it help me? You might want to take control of the money spent on your support for many reasons. It might be because you find the social care support that is arranged by your council isn't quite right for you. Maybe the support workers come at times that do not suit you or you don't always get the same members of staff.

Another reason might be that you want to pay for something that the council does not normally provide. Or you just might like being in charge of how the money is spent on your support.

What can I use the money for? You can use it in any way you like as long as you can agree with the professional working with you that the support you buy is the same as what is in your support plan.

Many people use direct payments to employ a carer (called a Personal Assistant) directly. Others use it to buy services from a care provider organisation. Some people use it to take part in hobbies and activities that they enjoy. Here are some examples of what people spend their direct payments on:

  • employing one or more Personal Assistants (PAs)
  • buying support from a service provider
  • buying short breaks or respite care
  • buying equipment or adaptations to your home
  • help to attend activities, education or employment, like going to a social club, college or work

Renfrewshire HSCP's Direct Payment Support Service worker can explain this option in more detail and check your eligibility. 

Find out more - SDS choosing your support

Option 2: Budget allocated to a care and support provider that the individual chooses where the council or funder holds the budget but the person is in charge of how it is spent

Not everyone will want to get a direct payment but many people will still want the freedom to choose who provides their support. If you choose option 2 you don't have to get any money. The council will pay the money to one or more organisations that you have chosen. This way you have choice and control but won't have to worry about arranging things.

How is option 2 different from option 1? The main difference from option 1 is that you don't hold the money yourself, but direct the council, or another organisation, as to how it should be spent. This would mean that you don't need to set up a separate bank account or show how the money has been spent.

You still have choice over your support provider. Another big difference from option 1 is that you cannot directly employ a Personal Assistant. You can only do this through option 1.

If I don't hold the money then who does? Under option 2 either the council or your chosen support organisation will hold the money.

You can talk with the professional working with you about which arrangement would be better for you.

How do I find out who I can buy support from? The professional working with you will have a list of local providers in your area. Local support organisations may also be able to give you information on other providers, and your professional will be able to signpost you to these.

Some support organisations will have brokers. A broker is a person whose job it is to provide you with advice and information about what providers and types of support are available in your area.

The Care Inspectorate website has information on finding and choosing a service. You can use its Care Service List to find out about support providers in your area and check their ratings.

Remember that you are the customer so feel free to contact more than one provider before deciding which one to use.

Find out more - SDS choosing your support

Option 3: Service is arranged by the local authority at the request of the person requiring support. 

Under option 3 you work with the professional to choose the support that is right for you. The difference from option 2 is that you are not in charge of how the money is spent. This is commonly called 'arranged services' meaning services arranged by your council. But taking option 3 does not mean that you have given up all control over your support. The council should still work with you to find support that is right for you. It just means that you let the council suggest which support you should have and, if you're happy with their suggestion, arrange it for you.

What if I decide I want to take more control? You can decide if you want to take more or less control over your support. You need to speak to your social care worker first and let them know it is not working out for you. Then there should be a review of your support needs.

Find out more - SDS choosing your support

Option 4: Individuals can choose a mixture of all three of the above for different types of support.

Option 4 is when you take a mix of two or more of the options for different parts of your support. Why might I want a 'mix' of options? Everyone's support arrangements are different and many people receive different types of support to meet different support needs.

This option may also be better for you if you would like to try the direct payment or managing the budget under option 2 for some of your support, but you would like the council to take care of the rest of your support.

Find out more - SDS choosing your support

Unpaid Carers 

Free support and advice for unpaid carers regarding Self Directed Support is available from:

Renfrewshire Carers Centre

St James House,
25 St James' St,

0141 887 3643

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