The law around Self-directed Support, Direct Payments and employing PAs

There are various laws and pieces of guidance that govern how someone can access a Direct Payment through Self-directed Support, in order to employ Personal Assistants.

The main law is called the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013. This is the law that sets out how Self-directed Support works and how someone can access a Direct Payment (also known a SDS Option 1) to employ Personal Assistants.

There is another law called the Self-directed Support (Direct Payments) (Scotland) Regulations 2014. This sets out the rules around:

  • The calculation and payment of Direct Payments under Option 1
  • When it’s possible for a Local Authority to stop a Direct Payment
  • The employment of family members
  • When someone is not eligible for a Direct Payment
  • When the Local Authority don’t have to offer the choice of a Direct Payment to someone.

You can find links to these laws in the Resources section below.

As well as these laws, the Scottish Government have published Statutory Guidance. This is not law, but is written to help Local Authorities (councils) understand how they should manage Self-directed Support and Direct Payments.

The latest version of the Guidance was published in November 2022 and can be accessed at the Resource link at the bottom of this page.

How can I use the laws and guidance?

If you have any issues when it comes to accessing a Direct Payment (SDS Option 1) or using one to employ Personal Assistants, it may be helpful to find out what the law and Statutory Guidance says about your rights.

You may also find it helpful to visit the SDS Handbook which has examples of what the law and Statutory Guidance says about Direct Payments: Option 1 (SDS Handbook)

Next steps

Take a look at the Resources below to guide you in more detail.

Part of
Last Updated
10 June 2024
First Published
28 March 2022
Was this article helpful?



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.