An Introduction to Self-directed Support (for PAs)

The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, ensures that everyone who is eligible for social care funding in Scotland will have the right to choose how their social care support is delivered.

Self-directed Support (SDS) is available to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria that their Local Authority (Council) has set. This can be available to children, young people, adults and older people. A person can apply for support for themselves and a parent can apply for their child or young person. Someone with active Power of Attorney, Welfare Guardianship or Financial Guardianship can apply on behalf of the person they are Guardian for.

The 4 options for SDS

Option 1

Known as a Direct Payments, this is where the supported person receives the money they need to pay for their support, directly from their Local Authority (Council). This allows them to arrange their own support or purchase a service from a care agency. This is the only option under which Personal Assistants (PAs) can be employed.

Option 2

This option involves the individual deciding who they want to provide their care and support (e.g. a local care agency or the Council themselves). They ask the Local Authority to send the money they have agreed to pay for their support to that organisation who then works with them to arrange the support that they need.

Option 3

With the individual’s agreement, the Local Authority finds a service that meets their needs and arranges their support.

Option 4

A mixture of any of the other 3 options can be used to arrange care and support.

Next steps

Further information on Independent Support Organisations and Local Authorities can be accessed through the SDS Scotland website:

Take a look at the video resources below.

Part of
Last Updated
15 June 2022
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.