2. Implementation of Self-directed Support
2.1 Implementation Rate
The 2016 Social Care Survey asked local authorities to return information on all clients who made a choice regarding their services or support at any time during the 2015-16 financial year. The key criterion for inclusion is the client was given a choice - an individual should only be included if they have undergone an assessment during which the available Self-directed Support options were explained.
Under this definition, 53,319 clients were identified as having made a choice regarding their services or support during 2015-16. One measure of the national implementation rate for Self-directed Support is provided by the proportion that these clients represent of all social care clients present in the 2016 Social Care Survey. The Social Care Survey covers most, but not all, community-based social care services. On this basis, the 2015-16 implementation rate of Self-directed Support across Scotland would be estimated at 25.6%. This is up on the 2014-15 implementation rate, however, better data recording was also observed this year which makes direct comparisons complex. See section 2.2 for more details on data recording.
The implementation rate provides an indicative value only and does not represent a target. The scope of the Social Care Survey will vary across local authorities due to differences in population need and service provision. Not all clients in the Social Care Survey will be able to exercise choice over their services or support and this will impact the implementation rate that is ultimately obtainable by each local authority. It is expected that the Self-directed Support implementation rate will continue to rise in upcoming years, however this will not reach a complete 100%. Clients receiving reablement, community alarms and/or crisis care support, for example, may not be able to make a choice regarding their services or support. In addition, some people have a local authority support worker but no services in place. Furthermore, implementation rates at the local authority level will vary according to when the local authority started offering Self-directed Support and the speed of the phased roll-out that was deemed appropriate to that area.
With these considerations in mind, Figure 1 (over page) shows that there were wide regional variations in recorded implementation rates, with seven local authorities recording figures at or over 50% and three recording figures below 5%. Local authorities with known data recording issues (see Section 2.2) are highlighted in light blue. Given the incomplete Self-directed Support option data for these local authorities, it is not surprising that all of them show implementation rates that are below the Scottish average.
Figure 1: variations in Self-directed Support implementation rate by local authority, 2015-16
Local authorities shaded in light blue have incomplete Self-directed Support option data (see Section 2.2).
2.2 Self-directed Support Options Recording
Changes in data recording systems were necessary to capture Self-directed Support information in 2014-15, a process which takes time to complete. Consequently, not all local authorities are able yet to record information for the separate Self-directed Support options. In particular, option 3 can be difficult for local authorities to record accurately as choosing this option during a review may mean that the individual concerned is carrying on with existing services and not all systems are currently able to report on this. In 2014-15, 22 local authorities were able to report on all Self-directed Support options. This has increased to 28 local authorites in 2015-16. More detail is given below.
All local authorities were able to return Self-directed Support Option 1 information, reflecting the fact that data on Direct Payments have been collected since 2001. However:
- 27 local authorities  were able to return client information for all of the Self-directed Support options. One local authority  returned information on those receiving Option 1 and Option 3 only as they had no Option 2 clients.
- Four local authorities were able to return information on
clients who have chosen some, but not all, of the Self-directed
Support options. Of these:
- One local authority  was able to return information on those receiving Option 1, but not those receiving Option 2 or Option 3;
- One local authority  was able to return information on those receiving Option 1 and Option 3, but not those receiving Option 2;
- Two local authorities  were able to return information on those receiving Option 1 and Option 2, but not those receiving Option 3.
Taken collectively, such recording issues will mean that the observed total number of clients who made a choice regarding their services and support - and the national implementation rate - is an underestimate of the true position. Such issues will also contribute to the local variations in implementation rate discussed in Section 2.1.
The 28 local authorities [1,2] with complete Self-directed Support option reporting account for 99% (52,573) of the previous client total. These 28 local authorities account for 93% of all social care survey clients and 93% of the Scottish population. If the 2015-16 Self-directed Support implementation rate is estimated on the basis of these authorities only, then a value of 27.3% is obtained. This is considered to be the best available estimate for the national implementation rate, as it accounts for the known recording issues.
Email: Steven Gillespie
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House