The Role of Local Authorities (Councils)

Local Authorities have the responsibility to implement Self-directed Support in their area. To support them in doing this, there is specific legislation that has been passed that outlines their legal duties, responsibilities and powers. When meeting their legal duties, Local Authorities also have to take into consideration the underlying statutory principles contained within the legislation. These principles are:

  • Participation and dignity
  • Involvement
  • Informed choice
  • Collaboration

These principles form the basis of an equal partnership between someone looking for support or their carer and the Local Authority.

Making sure that Self-directed Support works well

It is Local Authorities responsibility to make sure that SDS works well in their area. This means making sure that the systems and procedures they have in place enable people to get the support they need, when they need it. These systems support key activities that Local Authorities undertake, such as:

  • Responding to people’s requests for support
  • Signposting people to other sources of information and support that is available to them
  • Referring people to other organisations for support
  • Assessing people’s need for support
  • Applying eligibility criteria to see if someone is entitled to support
  • Once eligible, allocating resources to meet people’s needs
  • Supporting people to develop Support Plans
  • Supporting carers to develop Adult Carers Support Plans or Young Carers Statements

When you are allocated a Social Work Practitioner they will work with you to make sure the following happens:

  • All relevant parties are included in discussions and decisions as much as they wish to be
  • They will complete the assessment of care needs and establish if the needs meet the current eligibility criteria in their area
  • They will complete a Support / Care plan of how these needs will be met and agree the plan with the person this is for
  • They will make sure that the person knows about the services of a local SDS Information and Support organisation, who can provide further information about support available in the person’s local area
  • They will calculate and allocate a budget that will meet the cost of the support needed
  • They will make sure that people know about the 4 Options of SDS and how they relate to a person’s own circumstances
  • They will complete any necessary paperwork
  • Review your care packages with you to make sure that everything is working well and a person’s needs are still being met

The role of the Local Authority with PA Employers

Local Authorities have to make sure that people receiving social care and carers understand their rights and choices under SDS, as well as the responsibilities that come with this. These responsibilities include:

  • Accounting for how a person spends their SDS budget, so that it is meeting their identified needs as agreed with the Local Authority
  • That if anyone is employing their own PAs, that they meet all legal requirements related to this (eg. having Employer Liability Insurance in place)

The Local Authority also has to be sure that anyone becoming a PA employer is clear about their responsibilities and is ‘willing and able’ to take these on, even with any support that is available to the person.

Next steps

Take a look at the article on ‘The Role of the Local Authority and ILF Scotland as Funders of Self-directed Support’

Part of
Last Updated
13 July 2022
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.