The Role of the Local Authority and ILF Scotland as Funders of Self-directed Support

There are 32 Local Authorities in Scotland and they are responsible for providing a range of public services.

The Local Authority and Self-directed Support

The Local Authority is the organisation responsible for delivering Self Directed Support in their area. They have the responsibility to assess a person’s need for social care support. If a person meets local eligibility criteria, this may result in the Council offering the person further support, either be allocating money to give the person to pay for their support, or by identifying a service that the person can use. The Council has certain legal duties and responsibilities to enable them to do this.

The Local Authorities responsibilities for delivering Self Directed support are outlined in the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013.

The Local Authority has a duty to consider certain general principles under the Act:

  • Collaboration
  • Informed choice
  • Involvement
  • Participation
  • Dignity

The Local Authority has a duty to offer the 4 options of SDS when someone has been assessed as being eligible for Self-directed Support. The 4 options outline the different ways that the money made available by the Local Authority, can be paid for the support that people need. The 4 options are:

  • Option 1: A Direct Payment, where the person receiving support get sent the money directly to their bank account or onto a pre-payment card
  • Option 2: An Individualised Service Fund, where the money goes to an organisation or an individual of the person’s choosing, who will look after the money and work with them to arrange their support
  • Option 3: A more traditional approach where the Local Authority pays the money to a service provider or agency for the service they are offering
  • Option 4: A mix and match of any 2 or more of the above options

The 4 options are intended to support the flexibility and creativity that people need to enable them to meet their personal outcomes and the needs identified by their Local Authority.

The Independent Living Fund Scotland

Following the closure of the UK Independent Living Fund (ILF) on 30th June 2015, the Scottish Government established a new organisation, Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland, to administer ILF for existing recipients of the fund in Scotland.

ILF Scotland is a public body, governed by a Board of Directors, appointed by and accountable to Scottish Ministers.

ILF Scotland operates as a discretionary fund providing financial awards to over 3,000 disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland to help them live independently.

Their funding enables individuals to pay for care so that they can be supported in their homes and within their local communities.

ILF Scotland funding maximises SDS for disabled adults. There is a positive incentive to retain ILF additional funding, which can be up to £9m in one partnership area to complete SDS assessments, which promote independent living. ILF Scotland’s policy suite flexes across all the differences between the 32 variations of SDS in Scotland and the 5 variations in Northern Ireland. It makes payments of different amounts for different services on an individual basis after a bi-annual assessment, which is person centred and outcomes focused.

ILF Scotland involves disabled people at the heart of the organisation in every facet of its operations and it is this which maintains their innovation and ability to remove barriers.

ILF funding increases the portability of care packages; it reduces inconsistency and inequality of provision for disabled people and creates a dialogue for all disabled people to challenge for their best SDS outcomes.

Self funders or people who pay for their own care

Some people pay for the care and support they need without receiving any money from their Local Authority or ILF Scotland. They might do this because the cost of receiving support, in the form of a charge (Care Charge) that is levied by the Local Authority, is the same as the cost of purchasing the support yourself, directly from a care agency for example.

Some people might also not wish to go through the assessment process that the Local Authority uses to decide if people have eligible needs that they need to fund.

However, it is helpful for self-funders to know that everyone in Scotland who is assessed as needing support for Personal Care and Personal Support, can receive this type of service free of charge, regardless of the person’s age, income or financial position.

It might be possible that as a PA, you are employed by someone who is not funded by their Local Authority, which gives the employer greater flexibility over what support they might ask you to provide. However, the employer is still covered by the expectations of employment legislation in the UK.

Next steps

You can find further information on ILF at the websites found below.

Part of
Last Updated
24 March 2023
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.