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Minister reflects on revised Statutory Guidance

Post Date: 15 December 2022

Kevin Stewart MSP, the Scottish Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, has written to organisations across Scotland about revised Self-directed Support (SDS) Statutory Guidance, which was published on the Scottish Government website in November 2022.

You can read a copy of his letter below, including links to the Guidance.

The charity Self Directed Support Scotland is also running free events on the revised Guidance in 2023. You can book tickets through Eventbrite.


Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care
Kevin Stewart MSP

T: 0300 244 4000

15 December 2022

Dear all

The revised Self-directed Support (SDS) Statutory Guidance was published on 21st November 2022 on together with Easy Read and British Sign Language versions I would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the SDS Short life Working Group, and associated membership bodies, who have supported this update. I would also like to thank them for their time since March 2022, to attend meetings and workshops, sharing their valued expertise and working with officials to shape the new guidance.

We know that Independent Living is a crucial part of enabling human rights, and Self-directed Support plays a key role in delivering this. I believe that social care is an investment in people and Self-directed Support is intended to enable, promote and protect the human rights and independent living of supported people in Scotland.

It aims to ensure that care and support is delivered in a way that supports choice and control over one‘s own life and which respects everyone’s right to participate in society.

This update, the first since 2014, incorporates the flexibility in how SDS can be used that was encouraged through the pandemic guidance published in 2022, and which proved especially useful, as well as legislative changes that have happened since 2014, including the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016.

It emphasises the importance of rights, and that SDS is the way that social care must be delivered in Scotland - for children, adults and those in transition to adulthood, and that authorities must therefore take reasonable steps to uphold the rights of supported people and carers as described in the statutory principles.

It is vital that anyone needing support has the opportunity to live a full life in their own home, and we are committed to placing people’s needs, rights and preferences at the heart of the decision-making process.

Guidance on a range of issues relating to carers including guidance on identification of carers needs and the charging for support to unpaid carers is incorporated into this update.

I continue to support the vital advocacy work delivered through local Support in the Right Direction (SiRD) organisations who provide independent advice, support and advocacy services in each local authority area. This support is available to supported people and their carers, including unpaid and family members.

Work does not end with this update, and we will continue to work closely with COSLA and the SDS National Collaboration group to develop an SDS Improvement Plan (2023-2027).

This will help to drive improvements in SDS implementation ahead of the establishment of
the National Care Service.

I thank you for your commitment, compassion and professionalism during the pandemic and these continuing challenging times. I am aware of the pressures faced by the Social Care sector at present, and greatly appreciate the efforts of the social care workforce including those working in local authorities, health and social care partnerships, third sector organisations and those working to advocate on behalf of supported people, who continue supporting our communities.

I look forward to hearing your feedback on the updated Guidance, and look forward to working with you on implementing it.





"Self-directed Support is the way that Scotland delivers social care. This refreshed Guidance should support all of our developments. It builds on learning and changes through the COVID-19 pandemic and how these have been reflected in current practice. We hope that it can continue to drive improvement and enable people to live their lives independently and well, while having choice, control, and flexibility in directing their own support.”

Stakeholder members of the Short Life Working Group on SDS Guidance

“COSLA remains committed to the principles and implementation of the Self-directed Support Act, with this updated guidance providing an opportunity to highlight good practice, reflect on the challenges, and to raise the profile of this important legislation. Local Government will continue to work to embed the principles of Collaboration, Dignity, Informed Choice, Involvement and Participation across the delivery of Self-directed Support so that more people consistently experience choice and control over their support.”

Cllr Paul Kelly, COSLA Health and Social Care Spokesperson


Scottish Ministers, special advisers and the Permanent Secretary are covered by
the terms of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016. See

St Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG


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