Directing Your Own Support: A User's Guide to Self

Directing Your Own Support: A User's Guide to Self
© Crown copyright 2009
ISBN 978-0-7559-5995-2
The Scottish Government
St Andrew’s House
Produced for the Scottish Government by RR Donnelley B59464 03/09
Published by the Scottish Government, March 2009
Further copies are available from
Blackwell’s Bookshop
53 South Bridge
The text pages of this document are printed on recycled paper and are 100% recyclable
1. How to use this guide
2. The basics
3. How self-directed support works
4. Setting up your self-directed support package
5. Having a contract with a service provider
6. Becoming an employer
7. Now you are directing your own support
Annex A Support services
Annex B Useful publications
Annex C Contract with local authority
Annex D Responsibilities when employing staff
This guide offers advice to people who are thinking about being in
charge of their own social care support, or who are already doing so, but
have questions about the process.
A summary of the key points from this guide is given in Chapter 2 ‘The
The main detail of the guide is given in Question and Answer format and
it describes how self-directed support works, how you can set up your
own support package and how to go about buying the support you need.
Some words appear in bold with an explanation to try to make things
clear. Some recommended publications appear in italics. We have tried
to make this guide as accurate and helpful as possible, but you should
still check the information for yourself. This is particularly important for
legal issues. The guide contains information on where you can go for
extra help.
Where to find more information
Having read this guide you may still have many questions about selfdirected support. You should not feel that you are the only person
asking these questions. Local support services and local area coordinators are there to help you, and Annex A gives full contact details.
They should be able to put you in touch with people who live near you
who are already directing their own support and who can offer you this
first hand experience of what it feels like to be in charge.
Local services have their own publications and leaflets on directing your
own support. An easy guide to direct payments in Scotland is available
from the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability. Full National
guidance on self-directed support has been published by the Scottish
Government. More details are available at Annex B.
What is self-directed support?
Self-directed support is when you arrange some or all of your (or
your child’s) support instead of receiving services arranged by your
local authority social work or housing department. It is for people
who would like more flexibility, choice and control over their care
so that they can live at home more independently.
If you choose to organise your own community care support
package, you are in charge of the arrangements. This should
allow you to organise your life the way you wish. You will get a
sum of money to spend on the support you need instead of
receiving council services. If you want, you can choose to
organise some of your own support and also receive some council
Most people who use social work services can get self-directed
support (encompassing direct payments). The term self-directed
support is used because it emphasises that you are in control.
You might need support :
• with personal things like having a bath, washing or getting
• to live in your own house, like help with managing your money,
cooking or cleaning the house
• to get out and about, so you can see friends, join in activities
with other people, or go on a short break (respite)
• to go to work or college.
You can buy the support you need from an agency that sells you
care services. Or you can employ your own staff, sometimes
called a support worker or a personal assistant (PA), instead of
using services. The council will let you know what you can and
can’t spend the money on. You need to tell them your plans for
buying support. Help is available to work out the practical
arrangements so that they suit you. Your care manager and local
support service can sort out some of the more difficult things with
You must have a bank account for the money you receive. If you
don’t have one, you can ask for help to set one up. You will also
need to write down how you spend the money. Some people may
get a book-keeper to help with this.
What to do next
If you already use social work services, you could speak to the
person you usually talk to about your support. If you don’t have a
social worker or care manager, but want to speak to one, you
could phone or write to the social work department. Ask your
council how to get in touch with local support services to help you
understand self-directed support.
You will need to prepare for an assessment. Your social worker or
care manager will discuss with you what support you need.
Together you will produce a personal care plan which sets out
your needs and how these will be met.
Before your assessment it is a good idea to keep a diary for a
week or two to see what help and support you need each day. If
you need support on specific occasions throughout the year make
sure it’s included. Directing your own support can help you to
achieve changes in your life. Some councils use self-assessment
for some types of support, which is where you fill in a form that is
used to work out your needs. Local support services can help with
If social work services agree you need support, they must offer you
the choice of self-directed support instead of council services,
subject to you having the capacity to consent to self-directed
support, even if you require help to do this. Remember you can
have a mix of both; it’s up to you.
The money you are given is sometimes called an individual
budget or direct payment. This goes into a separate bank account
to make things easier for you. The money may come from your
local authority to meet your personal needs, housing support,
children’s services or other social care needs. Some of your
benefits money may also be added to the individual budget, and
even some home-based health services money. This way you can
use one budget to arrange all of the support you need. You should
be able to do more with your package and achieve more flexibility.
Setting up self-directed support
You need to show the council that the support you want to buy will
meet the needs that you have agreed in your personal care plan.
It is up to you to set up the support you need. This could mean
arranging services or employing people. Local support services
can help you with the practical things you need to do. They could
help you with paperwork, or tell you about your legal
responsibilities if you decide to employ staff. You will need to keep
a record of how you are spending the money.
Don’t worry if you have self-directed support and want to change
your mind. Let your council know and ask to discuss an alternative
Employing staff
Employing a PA can give you a more flexible and tailor-made
package of support which suits you. This is because you choose
who comes into your home to support you and exactly what they
do. You can work with your care manager and local support
service to sort out some of the more difficult things. For example,
you can get help with interviewing and payroll.
Being a boss means being in charge of people. It is important that
you treat people fairly and carry out your legal responsibilities as
an employer.
Taking up references and doing the necessary police checks will
help make sure that the person you employ is safe and right for
Buying services
If you don’t want to employ staff, you can buy services from a
service provider to meet your support needs. Or you can do both;
you can employ staff and buy services, for example to provide
back-up cover. A service provider is an agency or business that
sells you care services, like care workers. Your local authority will
be able to provide names of regulated service providers in your
area which provide the services you need. If you have a contract
with a service provider, they will be answerable to you, not the
local authority.
Help is available to work out the practical arrangements so that
they suit you. You can work with your care manager and local
support service who can help sort out some of the more difficult
things with you. For example, your local support service can help
you work out the details of the contract that you need to set up.
If a service provider is not able to meet your needs, you may be
able to find another that will. Always contact more than one
provider before deciding. Remember that you are the customer.
Questions and answers in this chapter outline the benefits of selfdirected support and how you can make it work for you.
Pathway to self-directed support
Information on self-directed support
Referral to local support service
Assessment of needs by council
Are you entitled to services?
Discussion on self-directed support and/or council-arranged services
Personal care plan agreed
Agree how services will be arranged and managed (with help if necessary)
Arrange training where necessary
Sign paperwork so you can direct your own support
Plan and arrange services (provider/PA recruitment)
Start date and review dates agreed
Person receives money to spend on their own care
Ongoing monitoring by council
Ongoing support offered through local support service
What is self-directed support?
Self-directed support is when you arrange some or all of your (or your
child’s) support instead of receiving directly provided care services from
your local authority social work or housing department. It is for people
who would like more flexibility, choice and control over their care so that
they can live at home more independently. It is not the name of a
particular type of service, but a way to tailor-make community care that
better suits you. It is sometimes called direct payments because
money is allocated to you to pay for the support you need. We now refer
to direct payments as self-directed support because it emphasises that
you are in control.
From June 2003 every Scottish local authority must offer those who are
eligible the opportunity to direct their own support. Self-directed support
gives you choices over the services you get so that you can tailor
arrangements to suit your individual circumstances. This might be for
short term help after a hip operation, for example, or for longer term
Some people may not always find social services flexible enough to
respond to their needs, or some may feel that services lack continuity.
You may find that the home help or carer arranged by the local authority
cannot come at the time you want. If you direct your own support you
can negotiate times to suit you.
People directing some or all of their support can decide how their needs
will be met, by whom and at what time. They are in control. They say it
is more creative and responsive to their needs, helping them to build
their confidence and self-esteem. It is a lifeline, helping them do more
with friends, family and community.
Who can direct their own support?
Almost any disabled or older person should be able to direct their own
support if they choose it.
Helpful hints:
Those who are eligible are:
• older people who have been assessed as needing community care
• disabled people who have been assessed as needing community
care services;
• disabled 16 and 17 year olds assessed as needing children's
• those who need some mental health services support;
• parents of, or people with parental responsibility for, a child (under
the age of 18) who has been assessed as needing children's
services, and
• attorneys and guardians with welfare and financial powers to act
on behalf of a person with reduced capacity.
There are only very limited circumstances when self-directed support
would not be offered, but local authority eligibility criteria must be met.
The flexibility achieved is such that those with complex needs can also
have self-directed support using the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland)
Act 2000 to safeguard their interests.
What can you use it for?
You (or your child) can get support to live in your own home, such as
help with having a bath or getting washed and dressed. Out of the home
it could support you (or your child) in college, to continue in employment
or take a job, or to enjoy leisure pursuits more. Instead of relying on the
activities run at a day centre, you might arrange for a personal
assistant (PA) to help you attend local classes, go swimming, or be a
volunteer helping others. It could also be used to provide a short break
(respite), for equipment and temporary adaptations, or for housing
support services. You can choose whether you would prefer to get
support from a service provider such as a voluntary organisation or care
agency, or by employing PAs, or a combination of both. It may also be
used to pay for someone to provide care and support to enable you to
take a short break.
If you wish, you can get a mixed package of self-directed support and
local authority arranged social care services, it is up to you.
How does it work?
You need a community care assessment carried out by your local
authority social work department to look at your needs. You can work
out a care plan together and decide which needs you would want to
manage using your own practical arrangements, with help from a local
support service.
In some local authorities, you may hear the term individual budget.
This is the sum of money you get for your self-directed support to meet
your total support needs. It may be made up of money from many
different funds to help you meet different needs, perhaps including
health and disability benefits. The total cash payment to pay for your
care goes into a dedicated bank account so that you can keep track of
what you have to spend more easily. The money is monitored as a
whole, and with as light touch as possible to enable the most flexible
outcomes for you. You know your combined total budget up front
because your assessed needs directly relate to the resources allocated
For example, besides local authority care budgets that may include
Supporting People (for housing needs) and funding for equipment and
temporary adaptations, some disability benefits may be included in your
individual budget such as the Independent Living Fund (ILF), Access to
Work, Disabled Student Allowance (SAAS), Disability Living Allowance
(DLA) and Carer’s Allowance (CA). Health money may also be included.
Your social worker or care manager arranges this budget for you and will
make clear what you can spend the money on. It is an opportunity to
meet your total needs in creative and flexible ways. It also keeps the
system as accessible, joined-up and streamlined as possible.
You will need to show the council that the support you want to buy
meets your assessed needs. You will need to show how you are
spending the money by recording it in various ways and by keeping bank
statements and receipts.
Self-directed support from your council is not taken into account for the
purpose of assessing income for social security benefits and is not liable
to income tax. This is explained further in the next chapter.
Self-directed support does not put you at an advantage over other
people who have requested services: the same prioritisation and
eligibility is applied whether for self-directed support or arranged
Questions and answers in this chapter outline how you can go about
getting self-directed support for some or all of your care package and
how you go about making sure that your needs are met.
Who can help me plan, set up and manage my own support?
You can get as much help as you need setting up and running your care
package. A carer, friend or relative may be able to support you with
some things, and there are council funded local support services in most
parts of Scotland to help you plan, set up and manage practical
arrangements and work through the paperwork. Independent Living
Officers can help, for example, with buying an individualised service
from a service provider. Or if you are unsure of the idea of recruiting
and employing your own staff, they can help with this and offer training
in good employment practice. Some offer a payroll service to help with
paying staff. Others may offer a book-keeping service to help you do the
paperwork that shows how you are spending the money. If you need
learning disability support a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) may be able
to help with care planning. Support services are listed in Annex A.
Helpful hints:
You may need some of the following extra support and local support
services can advise you how to get it:
• advocacy, which is where someone supports you in discussions
to make sure you get what you need;
• communication support, if you need help with for example,
spoken or written communication, including where English is not
your first language;
• time-limited support through periods of fluctuating or
deteriorating condition. For example if you use mental health
services you may wish to set up a support structure to help you
manage at times when you are not feeling well;
• care planning support from Local Area Coordinators (LACs) who
are able to support people with learning disabilities (see Annex A);
• third party person (unpaid agent), which is where you nominate a
person that you trust to receive the money on your behalf. They
can deal with many practical arrangements so long as you retain
overall control;
• circle of support, where a group of your family, friends and carers
helps you manage your arrangements;
• user-controlled trust, where a group of people form a trust to
legally act for you. The money goes into a trust bank account;
• advocate or guardian, where a person acts for you legally in
some matters where you lack capacity in order to safeguard your
interests. This is under the terms of the Adults with Incapacity
(Scotland) 2000 Act.
What do I have to do to get direct payments?
Your social worker or care manager should discuss this option with you
when they assess your care needs. If they do not, or if you already get
services, ask your local council about self-directed support (direct
payments). It will probably be best to start by asking the person you
usually speak to.
Ask to be put in touch with your local support service so that you can
discuss self-directed support with them and even meet someone who
directs their own support and can tell you about it first hand.
What if the local authority has not previously assessed my needs?
To get self-directed support you need an assessment in the same way
as you would for any social care service. Contact your local council to
ask them to assess your needs. You will find details of how to contact
them in the local phone directory or Yellow Pages under Social Services.
It is a good idea to think about your needs before the assessment, and
some local support services and LACs are able to help you work through
your priorities and plan what you need. You might find it helpful to get
advice from a friend or relative. Some people find it helpful to keep a
diary for a week before the assessment. Take care not to overlook
things that do not happen every week.
You may be asked to complete a form before the assessment to say
what you think you need help with. This is sometimes called a selfassessment and it can be used to give you an idea of the level of
support you are entitled to.
Helpful hints:
You might find the following things useful to consider in a selfassessment or in preparing for your assessment. They will become the
basis of your personal care plan:
• what is important to you, interests, friends, family, taking control,
living independently, flexibility, spontaneity, taking some risks etc.,
• how you look after yourself e.g. washing, dressing, using the toilet,
shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning, staying healthy and safe, how
you communicate with people, what happens at night,
• the activities you do and how long each takes e.g. work,
school/college, training, shopping, library, visiting neighbours and
friends, swimming, cinema, community centre, place of worship,
• what help you get,
• what you want to change,
• how you will be supported to do this e.g. by family, friends, PAs,
• how you will organise things and be in control of arrangements
• what support you may need to do this.
Your local authority should make available information about any
eligibility criteria used in the assessment process that may affect
whether support can be offered to you. This helps avoid raising
expectations about services, which are always subject to assessment.
The local authority may not be able to offer you assistance with
everything but your own assessment will help to make sure that nothing
is missed and that your needs are described in a way you are
comfortable with.
What if I am already getting services arranged by my local
Ask your local authority about self-directed support. They are obliged to
offer you this in place of arranged services you currently receive.
What if my local authority has assessed my needs before but has
not arranged services for me?
If your local authority decided that you did not need services, then it will
not offer you self-directed support. If you think your needs or
circumstances have now changed, ask your local authority for a new
If your local authority offered you services but you turned down what
they offered, self-directed support may be an alternative. Ask them
about this.
If I am entitled to social services, am I automatically entitled to selfdirected support?
Yes, most people who get social services have a right to self-directed
support. There are some limited circumstances where self-directed
support is not given and your council will be able to tell you about these.
You will have a discussion about whether you can manage self-directed
support and what kinds of support you need to be able to do this. You
must have arrangements in place to manage the necessary paperwork,
either alone or with help. Help should be available from your local
support service. You will also need to satisfy the council that the
services which you intend to buy will meet your assessed needs. For
disabled children, the council must be satisfied that the services bought
will safeguard and promote the welfare of the child.
In addition, if you plan to employ staff, you will need to show that you will
meet your legal requirements as an employer.
If my local authority offers me self-directed support, can I refuse?
Yes. You do not have to direct your own support if you prefer not to.
You can have services arranged by your council. Or you can have a
mixed package where you direct only some of your support. People
sometimes try out self-directed support this way to see if it suits them.
What responsibilities will I have?
Self-directed support offers you much more flexibility, but managing it is
also a responsibility. You are in charge of arranging the services you
need, sorting out any problems with the service and accounting for the
way you use the money. If you use the money to employ your own staff,
you will have the legal responsibilities of an employer. These are
described in Annex D.
However, you can get the help and support you need to do this and
working out who can help you is an important part of developing your
personal care plan. This approach emphasises the right of people to
whatever assistance they need in order to be confident about making
decisions and managing self-directed support. Your local support
service is usually the first point of contact for this. See Annex A for
contact details.
What can I do if I think the payments are not enough?
If you think the money you are offered is not enough, you do not have to
accept it. You can dispute the amount offered. You will need to discuss
with your local authority what will happen while your complaint is being
worked on. You can accept the individual budget if you want, while your
complaint is being dealt with. If you do not want to do this while your
complaint is being considered, you can choose to get arranged services
Can I change how I spend my individual budget?
You will need to discuss with your local authority what kinds of changes
need to be agreed in advance, and the kind of changes you can make
on your own without asking.
Will I have to pay a part of the money for my self-directed support
To receive any service from your council you will be assessed financially
(means tested) to see whether you should contribute some money to
help pay for it. Your local authority will charge you in the same way that
it charges people it provides arranged services to.
If the council decides you have to pay something towards the cost of
your self-directed support, they should pay the total amount you need
gross and recover your contribution later.
Where can I go to buy the services I need?
You can make arrangements yourself and employ your own staff and
they will report directly to you. Or you can buy services from an agency,
a private service provider or voluntary organisation. They will be
responsible to you, not to the local authority. Some people have a
contract with a service provider to provide any emergency cover they
may need should any problems arise.
Can I buy services from my local authority?
Yes, you can buy services from any local authority provided it agrees to
sell its services to you.
Can I buy residential care with my self-directed support?
No, self-directed support is intended to support you in your community,
so you cannot use it to pay for permanent residential accommodation.
Can I buy occasional short breaks (respite)?
Yes, respite is a short break which is to act as a positive experience for
the person with support needs and the carer, where there is one. The
term includes a wide range of different services of limited duration. The
common factor is not what service is provided, but its purpose. Respite
can be offered in a wide variety of settings, including breaks in
residential homes, respite-only units (e.g. specialist guest houses),
breaks in the home of another individual or family who have been
specially recruited, breaks at home through a support worker or sitting
service, or holiday type breaks.
Can I use self-directed support for 'Free Personal Care'?
Yes, if you are aged 65 or over and wish to use self-directed support to
buy personal care services at home you will not be asked to pay part of
the cost of these services.
Questions and answers in this chapter describe what you need to do to
buy support from a provider for some or all of your care package. This is
different to employing staff directly, which is covered in the next chapter.
What do I need to know about contracting with a service provider?
Buying services from a service provider means that you have a contract
with the provider to provide the care workers you need. You do not
employ directly the people who provide the services, and so you do not
have the responsibilities of an employer. Your local support organisation
will be able to assist with this (see Annex A).
Your local authority will be able to provide names of regulated service
providers in your area which provide the kinds of services you need.
You may also be able to find out about providers from other people who
use self-directed support, your GP or community nurse, libraries, or
Citizen's Advice Bureaux, or by looking in the Yellow Pages.
The Care Commission regulates the services provided by service
providers. You can find out about the quality of any service provider from
the Care Commission, see Annex A.
How do I choose a service provider?
Before contacting a provider it is important to be clear in your own mind
what help you are looking for. Start by making a list of the tasks you
would expect staff to do, just as you would if you were employing your
own staff. Then think about what is most important to you about the way
those tasks are done. This will help you get questions ready to ask
providers when you are working out which one is best for you. Local
support services and your council can help with defining job roles - they
sometimes have a skeleton job description called a job proforma that
you can use.
Always contact more than one provider before deciding. Remember that
you are the customer. If one provider is not able to meet your needs, you
may be able to find another that will.
Helpful hints:
You might find it helpful to ask some of the following questions before
making a decision:
• What services are available?
• What charges will be made?
• Is everything in the price or are there extras to be added in, for
example, National Insurance or travelling expenses?
• Is there a minimum service that has to be bought?
• Can I choose the person who provides my care?
• Can I expect to see the same person on a regular basis?
• What if the regular person is sick or on holiday?
Can I contract with someone who is self-employed?
PAs are usually employed directly by an individual on self-directed
support (see Chapter 6). However it is possible for a PA to be selfemployed and for you to contract their services.
A PA cannot be asked to be self-employed to enable the individual on
self-directed support to avoid taking on employer's responsibilities such
as paying tax and national insurance. It is essential that self-employed
PAs provide proof from the Inland Revenue that they are regarded as
self-employed for tax purposes. Details of the criteria the Inland
Revenue apply to determine if a worker should be classed as selfemployed are given at the HM Revenue and Customs website See Annex A for
details of HM Revenue and Customs New Employers helpline.
Helpful hints:
If an individual decides to contract a self-employed worker, the selfemployed worker is responsible for:
• providing a service agreement detailing items such as how much
the worker is charging and how they will invoice
• providing a written statement to the effect that they will take
responsibility for the paying of tax and national insurance
• funding their own training, including ensuring that they are trained
to carry out the service they are offering
• providing a written statement that they have appropriate insurance
indemnity cover, and
• undertaking and meeting the costs of an enhanced disclosure
Only registered agencies are able to provide cover as part of their
service agreement. If the local authority thinks that someone is acting as
an agency and is not registered, they have a duty to report this to the
Care Commission. If there is any doubt about whether the terms and
conditions under which a worker is carrying out their duties are those of
self-employment, then the individual on self-directed support must seek
advice from the Inland Revenue.
Questions and answers in this chapter describe the process of becoming
an employer and what is good, safe employment practice.
What do I need to know about employing a member of staff or
personal assistant (PA)?
Employing a personal assistant (PA) can be the way to get the most
flexible package of support which suits you, because you choose who
comes into your home to support you and exactly what they do. You
can work with your care manager and local support service to sort out
some of the more difficult things.
If you employ your own member of staff, you will have legal and other
responsibilities. You need to be aware of, and comply with, these
responsibilities. You will also need to check that your PA is legally
allowed to work in the UK and satisfy any Home Office rules in this
respect (see Annex D).
You will also need to make sure that a police check, sometimes called
an enhanced disclosure, is carried out on anyone you may wish to
employ. This is done through Disclosure Scotland (the clearing house
where criminal record checks are carried out under the Police Act 1997).
Your local authority, local support service, and SPAEN (Scottish
Personal Assistant Employers Network) can help you further (see Annex
A for contact details).
How do I find people to employ?
The first step is to decide what kind of support you need and the number
of PAs (experienced/part-time etc.) required to provide it. Your personal
care plan will make clear the number of hours of support you need to
meet your assessed needs.
Start by preparing a list of the tasks you want your staff to do. Then ask
yourself what skills and personal qualities they will need to do those
tasks properly. You will also need to think about what hours you would
expect your staff to work.
Helpful hints:
Decide what essential skills are needed, such as being a good listener,
ability to take responsibility, ability to use initiative, ability to work
unsupervised. If part of the job is to enable you to get out and about,
you may need someone who can drive.
Choose which criteria are desirable, for example, being a non smoker.
If you think you will need more than one person, you might also consider
whether they all need to have all these skills and qualities.
When you have decided on the skills and personal qualities you are
looking for, you need to decide how to go about finding the right people.
You might find someone by word of mouth, by asking around amongst
your friends and neighbours, or you could put a notice in a public place,
such as a local Post Office, shop or college of further education, or
advertise in a newspaper or in the job centre.
Advertising in job centres is free, but there is likely to be a charge for
putting a notice in a shop window or in a newspaper. Local user-led
support organisations may also have newsletters in which you can
Helpful hints:
If you are placing an advertisement, you will need to:
describe briefly what the job involves;
say how many hours per week you are offering;
describe what kind of person you are looking for;
give the rate of pay (usually hourly); and
give a contact number or address.
You may prefer not to give your own address or telephone number at
this stage, for security reasons. Your local support organisation or local
area coordinator may let you use their address. Or, you could arrange
with the Post Office to set up a P.O. Box.
How do I decide how much to pay people?
You can ask people who are already employing people using selfdirected support how much they pay or look at advertisements for similar
jobs. You can also discuss rates of pay with your local authority. How
much you can afford to pay will of course depend on your individual
budget, but the amount should be enough for you to pay for the services
you have been assessed as needing. If you cannot recruit anyone at the
pay rates you are able to offer, you should discuss this with your local
You may need to offer different rates of pay for different bits of the job.
For example, you may find that you need to offer higher rates for
evenings or weekends than for weekdays. Or you might have to pay
more if you need someone with particular skills (for example driving) for
some parts of the job. Details of the national minimum wage can be
obtained from the National Minimum Wage helpline on 0845 6000 678.
Payroll services
Many people find it helpful to use a specialised payroll service. Such
services may take on responsibility for paying wages, tax and National
Insurance based on information supplied by you. For details of payroll
services in your area ask your local authority, local support service or
local area co-ordinator.
Do I need to prepare a job description?
Yes. A job description will help you set out clearly what the job is. It will
help you to think through what sort of person you are looking for and to
explain to applicants what the job involves. It will also be a record of
what you expect from your employees, which will help if any difficulties
Helpful hints:
It may be helpful to start by saying what the job is for and how you
expect your employees to fit into your life. You could use your personal
care plan to help write a list of the main tasks. Remember to make it
clear that you may sometimes need some flexibility so that they do a
little more than what is listed in the job description.
The job description should list:
the tasks your employee will be expected to do;
essential and desirable skills;
how often they are needed and likely variations; and
anything else you will expect of your employee (for example,
Your local support service may have useful fact sheets to help you
prepare a job description, advertisement and shortlist from the people
who reply.
What information should I ask applicants to provide?
To help you decide who to invite for interview you will need to ask for
information which will help you to decide. You should ask applicants to
complete an application form, or ask for a letter saying why they want
the job, with full details of where they have worked before. The fuller a
picture of the applicant you can get now, the easier it will be to decide
who to interview.
Helpful hints:
If you are interviewing, you will need to:
• go through the job description together;
• say how many hours per week you are offering and what variation
there may be;
• prompt the person to describe relevant past experience and to say
what they can offer the post;
• discuss what you would expect of a PA, such as flexibility,
punctuality, confidentiality;
• discuss pay and conditions.
Your local support service may be able to train you on how to interview
prospective staff. Organisations such as the Lothian Centre for Inclusive
Living (LCiL) have useful fact sheets on how to prepare for interviews
and the kinds of questions to ask. Alternatively, the Scottish Personal
Assistant Employer’s Network (SPAEN) can give you advice. See
Annex A for contact details.
How do I get police checks done?
Doing a police check on a PA you want to employ is an important part of
good recruitment practice which will help ensure your safety. Your
council will pay for these checks, sometimes called enhanced
disclosures, which are done through Disclosure Scotland. Your council
will sometimes carry these out for you, or you can also ask for them to
be done through some local support services.
The prospective PA should give their agreement to the information on
the disclosure certificate being shared with the council. This helps them
assess the level of risk to you if you wish to employ the person.
Police checks are covered in more detail in section 5 of the National
guidance on self-directed support, see Annex B. You can also ask your
council or local support service to go through things with you and they
may have a fact sheet that is useful.
Will I need a contract with my employee(s)?
A contract of employment is made when the offer of employment is
accepted. A written statement of main terms and conditions must be in
place within 2 calendar months of starting work, but it is good practice to
provide this as soon as possible.
Helpful hints:
A statement of the main particulars of their work is essential. This is to
make sure that both you and your PA have the same understanding and
may be helpful if disagreements arise.
The Department of Trade and Industry booklet PL81O, Contracts of
Employment, is helpful, as is their booklet PL700, Written Statement of
Employment Particulars (see Annex D). Alternatively, local support
services have sample contracts and written statements and can discuss
them with you.
How can I get the best from my staff?
Local support services are able to train you and offer ongoing support.
Your local authority should pay for this training as it is essential for the
success of your support package.
Helpful hints:
Training will cover how to make the best of interpersonal relationships,
sometimes called ‘soft’ skills. For example learning how to:
• discuss with your PAs how you like things done and listen and
respond to any difficulties, questions or suggestions they may
• tell your PAs when they are doing well;
• tell your PAs straight away if you are not satisfied with any aspect
of their work;
• deal with problems as they occur; and
• comply with employment legislation.
If I employ staff, what legal responsibilities might I have?
You will find a summary of the type of legal responsibilities you are likely
to have in Annex D. Every effort has been made to ensure that this
information is accurate at the time of publication, but we advise you to
check for yourself. Your local support service or SPAEN can help you
What can I do to protect my child?
Parents are understandably cautious about allowing someone to have
close contact with their child. By carefully following up references,
ensuring police checks are done, and by being alert to signs of distress
in your child, parents can reduce the risk of abuse. Some useful
publications are listed in Annex B and organisations such as Contact a
Family Scotland can offer advice (see Annex A).
Can I employ a family member?
Close relatives cannot normally be employed to provide support
services. This general position remains important because of the very
different relationships that a person would have with an employee and a
family member and the conflicts of interest that can result from
employing a close relative.
Self-directed support is not meant to replace the help you get from your
family and community. So you cannot use local authority funds to get a
service from:
your husband, wife or partner; or
close relatives or their partner or husband or wife.
You should discuss your situation with the local authority if you think that
any person you would like to employ or buy services from might be in
one of these categories. In exceptional circumstances, your local
authority may be prepared to consider allowing you to use self-directed
support to pay a close relative.
Alternatively, if you are receiving money from the Independent Living
Fund (ILF) it may be possible to use this part of your overall budget to
employ a close relative if they don’t live with you. You will need to
discuss this with your care manager.
This chapter covers record keeping and how to make back-up
arrangements in case of any unexpected events.
Will I need to keep records?
Yes. The money you get in your individual budget is for services to meet
your assessed needs. It is public money and so it is not yours to spend
as you wish. Your local authority will require you to account for the
money you receive. You will be told what records you need to keep and
what information you will be expected to provide. You will probably find it
easier to keep records as you go along, rather than leaving completion
of any forms until they have to be returned.
For example, you may be asked to keep timesheets signed by your
personal assistants (PAs) recording the hours they have worked, or
receipts for services purchased from agencies.
Will the local authority check on the service being provided?
By agreeing to be on self-directed support you are taking on
responsibility for buying services to meet your assessed needs.
However your local authority will have to satisfy itself that your needs are
being met in the same way as if you received services. Your local
authority should tell you how they would go about this. This may involve
someone visiting you in your home to review the arrangements you
make using self-directed support.
What if I don't need to spend all the money?
If you don't need services for a short period, for example if you are in
hospital, or if you need less than usual because your condition improves,
tell your local authority as soon as possible, as they may need to adjust
your individual budget.
Do not spend your budget on something that has not been agreed. Your
local authority has the power to require you to repay any money that you
do not spend on meeting your assessed needs.
What will happen in emergencies?
Whatever arrangements you make, there will be times when they break
down. For example, your PA may be ill. You will need to make back-up
arrangements to provide cover for sickness etc. You might arrange this
with an agency or with off-duty or former employees. You will need to
discuss with your local authority what arrangements they expect you to
make to prepare for unexpected events like this. Your local authority
may be prepared to give you extra money to enable you to buy services
in an emergency.
If something happens which your arrangements cannot cover, you
should not be left without the services you need. The local authority has
a responsibility to step in if it is not satisfied that your needs are being
met by your own arrangements using self-directed support. Contact
your local authority as soon as you realise you will need help.
Don't worry about contacting your local authority for help. Almost
everyone needs help at one time or another. It is impossible to plan for
every situation that may arise. Having to contact your local authority
does not mean that you will be taken off self-directed support. However
your local authority may wish to discuss with you the arrangements you
have put in place for emergencies.
What if my needs change?
Contact your local authority as soon as possible and ask for your needs
to be reassessed.
Could I be asked to repay money?
Yes, your local authority could ask you to repay some or all of the money
if you:
do not spend the money on the services as agreed; or
spend it in a way, which does not meet any conditions the local
authority has set.
What do I do if I no longer want to use self-directed support?
Contact your local authority to ask them to stop making payments if you
no longer want to get them. Your local authority will arrange services
instead. If you refuse or withdraw your consent to using self-directed
support, this alone will not stop you from getting it in the future.
Who can I complain to if I am not happy with the service?
If you are not happy with any action, decision or apparent failing of the
local council, you can use the local council complaints procedure. The
council will be able to explain to you how to make a complaint. You
may find that an independent mediator can help solve the difficulty. If
this is not successful then you can go to the Scottish Public Services
Ombudsman (see Annex A).
If you are not happy with the services being provided by a provider or an
individual, you should complain to the provider or take it up with the
person concerned. Alternatively, a complaint can be made to the Care
Commission about any registered service. Local support services and
SPAEN can provide information and advice about how to conduct any
Local authorities can give you details of local support services and organisations that
can offer advice, information and services, or you can choose the appropriate
organisation from the following list.
Local Area Coordinators (LACS)
If you or your child needs learning disability services, local area coordinators (LACS)
may be able to assist you with care planning. Not all areas in Scotland have a LAC,
and some LACS only cover specific places in their local authority area. You can find
up to date LAC contact details on the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability
website or at the following site
Local Support Services
If there is currently no support service within your area, the self-directed support
adviser from the local authority has been noted down.
Local Authority
Local Support Service
Aberdeen City Council
Kirkgate House
St Nicholas Street
Aberdeen AB10 1HW
Direct Payment Co-ordinator: Elaine Berry
Telephone: 01224 264 090
Email: [email protected]
Direct Payments Caledonia (Outreach Office)
Unit 13
Huntly Business Centre
Gordon Street
Huntly AB54 8FG
Telephone: 01466 799150
Fax: 01466 792942
Email: [email protected]
Dundee and Angus Direct Payments Support Service
Thomas Herd House
10-12 Ward Road
Dundee DD1 1LX
Contact: Barbara Maguire
Telephone: 01382 226440
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
Argyll and Bute
Argyll and Bute Council
Sensory Impairment
Dolphin Hall Annexe
Manse Avenue
Dunoon PA23 8DQ
Direct Payments Advisor: Dinah Macdonald
Mobile: 07795 052656
Email: [email protected]
Borders Direct Payments Agency
Anderson’s Chambers
Market Street
Galashiels TD1 3AF
Telephone: 01896 759700
Email: [email protected]
Forth Valley Direct Payments Support Service
Dundas Resource Centre
Oxgang Road
Grangemouth FK3 9EF
Telephone: 01324 508794
Email: [email protected]
Dumfries and
Dumfries and Galloway Council
Direct Payments Support Service
Carruthers House
English Street
Dumfries DG1 2HP
Direct Payments Support Worker: Gillian Cooper
Telephone: 01387 260317
Mobile: 07834 667545
Email: [email protected]
Dundee and Angus Direct Payments Support Service
Thomas Herd House
10-12 Ward Road
Dundee DD1 1LX
Contact: Vanessa Dallas-Ross
Telephone: 01382 226440
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
East Ayrshire
Ayrshire Independent Living Network (AILN)
Eglinton Disability Resource Centre
Pavilion 9
Ayrshire Central Hospital
Kilwinning Road
Irvine KA12 8SS
Telephone: 01294 272260
Email: [email protected]
East Dunbartonshire Direct Payments Support Service
Suite 1
Enterprise House
Southbank Business Park
G66 1XQ
Telephone: 0141 776 2219/6342
Fax: 0141 776 2219
Email: [email protected]
East Lothian
Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCiL) (outreach office)
Poldrate Granary
Haddington EH41 4DA
Independent Living Officer: Jude Balfour
Telephone: 01620 822214
Email: [email protected]
East Renfrewshire
East Renfrewshire Council
Independent Living Services
Lygates House
224 Ayr Road
Newton Mearns
East Renfrewshire
G77 6FR
Contact: Innes Turner
Telephone: 0141 577 3367
Email: [email protected]
Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCiL) (main office)
Norton Park Centre
57 Albion Road
Edinburgh EH7 5QY
Telephone: 0131 475 2350
Email: [email protected]
See Clackmannanshire
Fife Council
Fife Direct Payments Support Service
Talbot Cottage
Station Road
Contact: Rhona McCallum
Telephone: 08451 555555/460707
Email: [email protected]
Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living
117-127 Brook Street
G40 3AP
Telephone: 0141 550 4455
Email: [email protected]
Direct Payments Caledonia (main office)
Drumdevan Cottage
Inverness IV2 6DJ
Telephone: 01463 224740
Fax: 01463 243045
Email: [email protected]
Highland Council
Kinmylies Building
Leachkin Road
Inverness IV3 8NN
Direct Payment Support Officer: Gail MacMillan
Telephone: 01463 703536
Email: [email protected]
Inverclyde Council
10/16 Gibshill Road
Greenock PA15 2UP
PA Advisor: Kathleen McGhee
Telephone: 01475 714 350
Email: [email protected]
Strone Office
1 Aberfoyle Road
Greenock PA15 3DE
Contact: Iseabail Howat
Telephone: 01475 714 600
Email: [email protected]
See East Lothian
Direct Payments Caledonia (outreach office)
Unit 5
Chanonry Business Centre
2 Chanonry Road North
Chanonry Industrial Estate
Elgin IV30 6NB
Telephone: 01343 552 307
Fax : 01343 551 306
Email: [email protected]
North Ayrshire
See East Ayrshire
North Lanarkshire
North Lanarkshire Council
Social Work Dept
Scott House
73 – 77 Merry Street
Motherwell ML1 1JE
Contact: Morag Dendy
Telephone: 01698 332 075
Email: [email protected]
Independent Living Project
Orkney Carers Centre
Anchor Buildings
6 Bridge Street
Orkney KW15 1HR
Contact: Olivia Tait
Telephone: 01856 870 777
Email: [email protected]
Perth and Kinross
Perth and Kinross Direct Payments Support Agency
Perth and Kinross Association of Voluntary Services
The Gateway
North Methven Street
Perth PH1 5PP
Contact: Annette Summersgill or Louise Westwood
Telephone: 01738 567 076
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
Renfrewshire Council Social Work Department
Independent Living Team
Mile End Centre
30 Seedhill Road
Paisley PA1 1SA
Contact: Janice Toner
Telephone: 0141 847 4984 (Advice Line Tuesday, Wednesday
and Thursday 1.30 pm to 4.00 pm)
Email: [email protected]
Shetland Islands
Shetland Islands Council
Social Work Department
92 St Olaf Street
Shetland ZE1 0ES
Telephone: 01595 744400
Email: [email protected]
South Ayrshire
See East Ayrshire
South Lanarkshire
South Lanarkshire Council
Direct Payments Development Officer
Floor 9, Council Offices
Almada Street
Hamilton ML3 0AA
Contact : Karen Frame
Telephone: 01698 453 716
Email: [email protected]
See Clackmannanshire
West Dunbartonshire Council
Beardmore Business Centre
9 Beardmore Street
Dalmuir G81 4HA
Disability Development Worker: Victoria McKenzie and
Alison Scott
Telephone: 0141 562 2327
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
West Lothian
Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCiL) (outreach office)
c/o Disability West Lothian
The Ability Centre
Carmondean Centre Road
Livingston EH54 8PT
Independent Living Officers: Kirsty Ogilvie and Louise McMeel
Telephone: 01506 774037
Email: [email protected]
Western Isles
Cobhair Bharraigh
Isle of Barra
Telephone: 01871 810 906
Email: [email protected]
Crossroads Harris
Harris Voluntary Service
Room 2, Old Hostel
Harris HS3 3BG
Telephone: 01859 502 171
Email: [email protected]
Tagsa Uibhist
East Camp
Telephone: 01870 602 111
Email: [email protected]
Other Statutory Bodies and Support Organisations for disabled and older
people and children
Capability Scotland
(Disability organisation working with children, adults and families)
Advice Service Capability Scotland (ASCS)
11 Ellersly Road
EH12 6HY
Telephone: 0131 313 5510
Email: [email protected]
Care Commission
Compass House
11 Riverside Drive
Telephone: 01382 207100
Telephone: 0845 603 0890 (Local rate applies)
The Care Commission can be contacted at its Headquarters, as above, or at regional
offices listed on the website:
Contact a Family Scotland
(For families with disabled children)
Craigmiller Social Enterprise and Arts Centre
11/9 Harewood Road
EH16 4NT
Telephone: 0131 659 2930
Email: [email protected]
Helpline 0808 808 3555 (Free phone for parents and families: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Monday to Friday, 5.30pm to 7.30pm Mondays only)
Text phone: 0808 808 3556
HM Revenue & Customs
New Employer Helpline
Helpline: 0845 6070 143
Monday-Friday 8.00am-8.00pm
Saturday-Sunday 8.00am-5.00pm
Text phone: 0845 602 1380 (for employers who are deaf or hard of hearing)
In Control Scotland
Joint Development Team Leaders
John Dalrymple
c/o Neighbourhood Networks
Festival Business Centre
Unit F 11
150 Brand Street
G51 1 DH
Frances Brown
Inclusion Glasgow
Clydeway House
813 South Street
G14 0BX
Telephone: 0141 225 1668
Email: [email protected]
Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
K Floor, Argyle House,
3 Lady Lawson Street,
Telephone: 0131 222 6111
Email: [email protected]
Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability (SCLD)
Room 16
Adelphi Centre
12 Commercial Road
G5 0DQ
Telephone: 0141 418 5420
Fax: 0141 429 1142
E-mail: [email protected]
Scottish Helpline for Older People (SHOP)
Scottish Helpline for Older People
Age Concern Scotland
Causewayside House
160 Causewayside
Helpline: 0845 125 9732 (Monday to Friday, 10.00am - 4.00pm)
Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Melrose House
69a George Street
Telephone: 0131 260 5380
Email: [email protected]
Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN)
Suite G04
Dalziel Building
7 Scott Street
Telephone: 01698 250280
Fax: 01698 250236
Email: [email protected]
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)
Freepost EH641
Telephone: 0800 377 7330
Email: [email protected]
Self-Directed Support Scotland (formerly Scottish Consortium of Direct
Payments Support Organisations)
PO Box 7561
G42 2DG
Telephone: 0870 850 7795
Mobile: 07926190489
Email: [email protected]
(Disability Information Service)
Hays Community Business Centre
4 Hay Avenue
EH16 4AQ
Telephone: 0131 669 1600
E-mail: [email protected]
Or for a direct link to their information on self-directed support
Voices of eXperience (VOX)
(National mental health service user led organisation)
c/o The Mental Health Foundation (Scotland)
5th Floor Merchants House
30 George Square
Glasgow G2 1EG
Telephone: 0141 572 1663
Email: [email protected]
National guidance on self-directed support (2007)
Scottish consortium for learning disability (2005) An easy guide to direct
payments in Scotland
Contact a Family Scotland (2007) A parents’ guide to direct payments in
Lothian Centre for Integrated Living (LCiL)
A number of factsheets and downloads are available in relation to independent living
services provided.
Scottish Personal Assistant Employers network SPAEN A
number of leaflets are available on becoming a personal assistant (PA) employer.
A Review of Self Directed Support in Scotland (2008)
The following publications are useful for their general approach, but
references to legislation and regulations all relate to the laws of England and
Wales. Self-directed support in Scotland operates under legislation specific to
Department of Health (2006). A parent's guide to direct payments.
Department of Health (2006). Direct payments for people with mental health
problems, a guide to action.
National Centre for Independent Living (2001) Direct payments for mental
health users/survivors: A guide to some key issues.
When your needs are assessed and self-directed support is about to be put in place,
you should receive a letter or contract from the local authority. This will describe
how the following questions have been resolved:
How much money (giving a breakdown) does the local authority consider
necessary to secure the appropriate services?
How much of this total will the local authority contribute to the individual
budget, and how much is the person expected to contribute?
How often and in what form will payments be made?
What arrangements does the local authority propose for monitoring? How
often? What information should the person provide? What access will be
required to the person’s home or financial records?
What information does the local authority require for audit purposes, and
When will the next review take place?
What should the person do if they want to stop self-directed support and in
what circumstances will the local authority consider discontinuing self-directed
support (permanently or temporarily)?
How will the local authority and individual handle any temporary gap in
How much notice will be given if the local authority discontinues and how will
any outstanding commitments be handled if payments are discontinued?
In what circumstances would payments be withdrawn with no notice?
In what circumstances would the local authority seek repayment?
Has the individual been made aware of the local authority’s complaints
Is there a retainer fee for staff if the person on self-directed support is
admitted to hospital for a short period? The person would have a contract of
employment with their staff and if they were unable to retain staff, depending
on the circumstances of the admission, it could disrupt their longer term
support and could delay discharge from hospital.
Can an individual on self-directed support nominate someone to be involved
in the monitoring process with them?
PA employers have a range of important responsibilities, all of which they can
receive training on and other practical support from their local support service and
SPAEN (see Annex A). This list is not exhaustive:
• Disclosure
• Equal opportunities
• Fair and unfair dismissal
• Handling employee grievances
• Health and safety
• Immigration status
• Induction training
• Insurance and indemnity (for you as an employer and for your employee)
• Management and supervision of staff and relationship building
• National Insurance contributions
• Pay negotiations and awards
• Period of notice
• Redundancy
• Salary
• Staff appraisal
• Staff recruitment
• Statutory sick pay, maternity and paternity pay, adoption pay and leave
• Tax
• Terms and conditions of employment
• Unions
• Written statement of employment particulars
Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL) and Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living
(LCiL) provide a range of training modules on inclusive living for disabled people and
training for people who want to gain employment as personal assistants.
More information can be found at and
SPAEN’s coaching and development programme offers various modules designed to
assist people employing PAs to deal effectively and confidently with employment and
For more information about employment see the following websites:
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
Citizens Advice Bureau
Direct Gov
Home Office UK Border Agency
Trade Union Congress (TUC)
© Crown copyright 2009
This document is also available on the Self-Directed Support Scotland website:
RR Donnelley B59464 03/09
Further copies are available from:
The Self-Directed Support Team
Room 2ER
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Telephone orders and enquiries
0131 244 4778 or 0131 244 3523
© Crown copyright 2009
This document is also available on the Self-Directed Support Scotland website:
RR Donnelley B59464 03/09
Further copies are available from:
The Self-Directed Support Team
Room 2ER
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Telephone orders and enquiries
0131 244 4778 or 0131 244 3523
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