An Introduction to Self-directed Support (for PAs)

Self-directed Support is the name for how people get care and support in Scotland. It is often called SDS for short.  

The name Self-directed Support comes from the law that says how people should get care and support in Scotland. The law came into effect in 2014 and is called the Social Care (Self Directed Support) (Scotland) Act. 

All types of care and support should be arranged following the rules of Self-directed Support. This is the same for everyone: 

  • SDS is for people of all ages, including children and older people. 
  • SDS is for all people, whatever type of support they need. 
  • SDS is for everyone in Scotland, wherever you live. 
  • SDS is also for unpaid carers who get support in their own right. 

Self-directed Support enables people to employ Personal Assistants

Self-directed Support is designed to enable people to have as much choice, control and responsibility as they want to have over their own care and support.

People are offered different options for how they want to manage their support.

Option 1, also known as Direct Payments, is the option that enables people to directly employ their own Personal Assistants.

As a Personal Assistant, it’s helpful to understand how Self-directed Support is different from more traditional models of support that have gone before.

You can find out more about Self-directed Support, how it came about and what its aims are, in the Resources below.

Next steps

Take a look at the Resources below to find out more.

Part of
Last Updated
11 June 2024
First Published
01 April 2022
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Please note that the information contained in this Handbook is provided for guidance purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Self Directed Support Scotland or any other contributing party.

The information does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal and professional advice from a lawyer about employment law matters, or an accountant/ tax specialist about taxation matters, and from HMRC and your insurers. You should not rely solely on the information in this Handbook. Support organisations listed in this Handbook can help you find appropriate sources of advice.