New ways of offering people more choice and control over their social care can make a real difference but further work is needed to ensure everyone can benefit, says a report out today.
Since 2014 councils have been responsible for implementing Self-directed Support (SDS), which offers people more choices around their support and how it is managed. This is now largely provided by the new local health and social care integration authorities drawn from councils and the NHS.
Today's report for the Accounts Commission and the Auditor General says while many people have benefited from SDS, integration authorities still have a lot to do to provide this for everyone.
Councils spend £3.4 billion a year on social care supporting more than 200,000 vulnerable adults and 18,000 children and their families. Assistance ranges from everyday tasks such as dressing and preparing meals to helping individuals live more fulfilling lives at home, at work and in their communities.
Most people rate social care services highly and the majority of staff are positive about the principles of SDS. The report highlights areas of good practice such as giving front line staff powers to spend small amounts that can make a big difference.
On the ground, however, not everyone is getting to choose and control their social care the way they want to and staff need more support to try new approaches. Providers also face challenges in offering flexible services, particularly in recruiting and retaining social care workers.
The Scottish Government, councils, health boards, the new health and social care integration bodies, third and private sector organisations, and individual people carers and families, are all involved in making SDS happen. This is set against a backdrop of increasing demand for social care and tighter budgets.
Coverage of the report:
Media Statement on Audit Scotland SDS Report
- Scottish Care
Call for more advice for elderly on social care choices
- The Scotsman