Changing Your SDS Option

The 4 Options of Self Directed Support (SDS)

There are 4 Options under Self Directed Support. These are about how a person’s care and support can be arranged and how the money that is needed to pay for this is managed. They are:

  • Option 1: the person receives the money from their local authority (council), known as a Direct Payment. They can use this to pay for support from an organisation, to employ their own Personal Assistants (PAs) or contract self-employed PAs, and to pay for other goods and services to help them meet their outcomes.
  • Option 2: the person asks their council to pay the money for their support to someone they trust and would like to look after the money. This could be the council itself, or another organisation. This is sometimes called an Individual Service Fund. The council or organisation will then work with the person to work out how to use the money to pay for their support.
  • Option 3: The council will arrange the person’s support for them, either providing their own services or commissioning services from another provider they have a contract with.
  • Option 4: This is a mixture of any of the above three options, where for example, a person could take some of their support budget as a Direct Payment (under Option 1) and some of the budget is managed by the council under Option 3. This is a ‘mix and match’ option.

A PA employer can change their SDS Option at any time. However, each Option might change the way in which support is arranged for them, so it is important to understand how each Option relates to their own personal circumstances.

It might be helpful for the PA employer to speak to their Social Work Practitioner and Independent Support Organisation before making a decision.

One thing to be aware of, is that each SDS Option might cost different amounts of money. So for example, it might cost more for an agency to provide a care worker to support someone, as they have other additional costs to pay for, such as for management and premises. The important thing is that the amount of money allocated by the Council for each SDS Option should enable a person’s needs to be met in full.

Next steps

Take a look at the at the article on Independent SDS Information and Support Service for additional support.

Part of
Last Updated
28 February 2024
First Published
28 March 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.