Exploring the role of Self-Directed Support in new systems of integrated health and social care in Scotland

Over the last few years, two major pieces of legislation have been set in place which will fundamentally challenge the ethos and structure of health and social care provision in Scotland. Firstly in April 2014, new legislation for self-directed support (SDS) was implemented. This marked a major cultural shift in social care for both users and professionals and underlined a central role for more personalised systems of service provision. Secondly the Public Bodies (Joint Working) Scotland Act 2014 set out a framework for integrating health and social care. By merging these two funding streams, the move has initiated a new era of collaborative working with full integration arrangements to be in place by April 2016. This pilot study seeks to map out how local authorities and organisations of and for service users are responding to these shifts in policy.


It is intended that this work will provide an early insight into how SDS is being developed by local authorities, alongside the perspective of support organisations in adapting to the changes. It will highlight the current challenges during this period of transition and how policy will be positioned in the context of integration arrangements for the April 2016 deadline.


A series of semi-structured interviews with lead officers for SDS will be carried out in a sample of 10 local authorities. In addition interviews with representatives from 5 user group organisations will be carried out across Scotland.

Why the results are important

This study will offer an initial overview as to how local authorities are developing their plans for SDS and how the new arrangements for the integration of health and social care will link in with these.  


  • Dr Charlotte Pearson
  • Prof Nicholas Watson


Pilot study: April-July 2015


University of Glasgow research support funds