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Strategy - 2020-23

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Published: August 1, 2022

Strategic Plan 2020-23


Statement from the Chair of ILF Scotland
Statement from the Chief Executive of ILF Scotland

Organisation’s Strategy

2020 - 2023
Strategic Priority 1 - Facilitate disabled people’s right to Independent Living
Strategic Priority 2 - Be leaders in enabling Independent Living
Strategic Priority 3 - Operate a high-quality efficient service
Business Plan

Outline Delivery Plan

2020 - 2023

Statement from the Chair of ILF Scotland

As we set our strategy for the next 3 years and beyond, our nation and the world we live in is fighting to contain Coronavirus. We are acutely aware that the associated illness Covid-19 is taking so many lives too early and changing our daily lives. All of us have our own part to play in supporting our governments to respond to this crisis. Never have we seen such pressures put on our health and social care systems.

The experience of many disabled people during this crisis necessitates fresh thinking about the provision of care, support and rights for disabled people. This new strategy looks to the future during the uncertainty of the present. It outlines a model of social care and support, based on human rights, that puts disabled people at the heart of defining their own needs and how these needs will be met. As with fighting this virus, the only way we can make progress is together, and this strategy shows an ambitious and optimistic way forward despite the challenging times we currently live in.

To develop this strategy, as with everything we do at ILF Scotland, we asked disabled people and their supporters what they need us to do. These words resonate with me, and I quote: “Freedom, dignity, choice and control will enable us to play our vital role, working together in reciprocity, building on strengths for equality. Society must recognise the dangerous direction, of eroding rights and removing protection. So, we won’t need a revolution, just to make a contribution. And together we will all be giving, because we have rights to independent living.”*

This strategy reflects this sentiment, and I extend my personal thanks to everyone who helped us to develop it. I look forward to continued discussions with you all as we progress with the next stages of ILF Scotland’s role in the independent living arena in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

With warmest wishes,

Susan Douglas-Scott CBE
Chair, Independent Living Fund Scotland

*ILF Scotland External Stakeholder Consultation Report 2019

Statement from the Chief Executive of ILF Scotland

ILF Scotland was established in July 2015 following the closure of ILF UK. Owned wholly by Scottish Ministers, it has now been in operation for over 5 years. In this time we have safeguarded the vital financial support to over 3,400 disabled people across Scotland and Northern Ireland. To date, we have made over 205,000 payments directly to disabled people, totalling some £275m. All payments have been made on time, accurately, and without errors. This achievement has greatly enhanced the control, choice and lives of disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We are pleased that this success has been recognised through 21 UK, National and Regional accolades for excellence, highlighting our work as exemplar across various disciplines.

In 2017, working with young disabled people, ILF Scotland co-developed and launched a new Transition Fund, which to date, has supported over 2,000 young people to become more active and to participate in their communities. We have received a huge amount of positive feedback about this Fund. Young people and their supporters tell us that the flexibility and ease of applying to the Fund is unique. We were delighted when, at an event to celebrate the anniversary of this fund in November 2019, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport announced an increase in the age limit for applications from 21 to 25. We are, therefore, now able to support so many more young people
with innovative ideas to help them on their journey to independent living.

When announcing the creation of ILF Scotland in 2014, the now First Minister stated that ILF Scotland would place disabled people at the heart of the decision-making process of the new organisation. We take this commitment very seriously, and it is why this strategy has been co-produced in consultation with disabled people and others. As we have looked to the future, we are intensely proud of our short but eventful first few years, where disabled people have consistently told us what a positive and “life-giving” impact we have made to their lives and to those of their families, friends and communities.

This impact has been confirmed through the recent independent research carried out in Northern Ireland, which puts an annual social value of over £74 million on the £6.85 million of funds we provide to disabled people in Northern Ireland. In other words, for every £1 we spend, we return nearly £11 in wider social value annually.

The past year has seen a significant milestone for ILF Scotland, as we now support more people as an organisation than we did when we first started. A clear and strong message from those involved in co-producing this strategy is that they would like to see us support even more people. We are committed through this strategy to working with our Scottish Government colleagues to explore how we may be able to make this happen. In the 2018/19 Programme for Government, the Government committed ‘to gather views and consider evidence for a potential new nation al scheme to provide extra financial support to people with the highest social care needs, so that they can choose to live independently in their homes and in their local communities”. Through the Adult Social Care Reform Programme, led by Scottish Government, we have worked with others to examine this commitment. Now paused due to COVID, we hope to re-start this work at the appropriate time.’

Additionally, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland has committed to investigating the potential to re-open the Independent Living Fund to more disabled people. In partnership with our Northern Ireland Government colleagues, we have carried out extensive consultation to inform this potential policy development, and a Working Group comprised of relevant stakeholders is currently establishing the ground in preparation of a final Ministerial decision in the near future.

Core to ILF Scotland’s approach is meaningful stakeholder engagement and co-production. We know we do not have all the answers to enabling independent living for disabled people, therefore we have developed this strategy based on what disabled people and other experts have told us. During the autumn of 2019, we held eight stakeholder engagement events across Scotland and Northern Ireland, and received some 66 online submissions on what our next strategy should deliver. Based on the responses of over 300 individuals, their carers, support organisations and disabled people’s organisations, we have listened to what people want to happen and this strategy strongly reflects their voices.

Disabled people are telling us they greatly value what we do, but that we need to do more of it, working in partnership with our Local Authority/Trust colleagues, Social Care and Support Providers and other partners. As we go forward, disabled people remain at the heart of what we do and we will work with them to provide relevant information, services and support in a format and method that works for them. This will enable them to have full choice and control of their funding from us. We will develop technology and services to make ILF Scotland more accessible and efficient with the aim of us becoming ever more efficient.

Part of this work will include exploring and developing smarter working with health, benefits agencies and others, contributing to Scottish Government’s aim of working to provide a whole systems and integrated approach to delivering health and social care services. In tandem with this, we look forward to contributing to the independent review of the social care system in Scotland, as outlined in the 2020/21 Programme for Government, Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland.

Our aim, which is the same as our previous strategy, is to enable independent living for as many disabled people living in Scotland and Northern Ireland as our current capacity sustains, while at the same time providing the evidence base for us to do more. We are hugely grateful to all of those disabled people, and other partners, who have supported us with the production of this strategy.

Peter Scott OBE
CEO, ILF Scotland


ILF Scotland exists to support independent living for disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Independent living means, “Disabled people have the same freedom, choice, dignity and control as other people at home, at work, and in the community. It does not mean living by yourself or looking after yourself on your own. It means the person has rights to practical assistance and support to participate in society and live an ordinary life.” (Independent Living in Scotland project, 2008).

ILF Scotland aims to enable disabled people to live independent lives, and to exercise choice and control over how each recipient of the fund achieves their own independent living outcomes. We aim to adopt a human rights approach to all that we do. In particular, we seek to ensure our actions support the realisation of Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - “living independently and being included in the community”.


Our vision sets out what disabled people have told us they want the future to look like.

The vision of ILF Scotland is

All disabled people, and those with a long-term health condition, can access what they need to lead an independent life.

In working towards this, ILF Scotland will aim to:

  • Listen to and understand the needs, hopes and aspirations of disabled people.
  • Work fully in partnership with Scottish Government and relevant partners, through the reform of adult social care programme to develop new standards and assessment practices by which disabled people can realise the quality of life they wish to achieve.
  • Help further develop our existing national social care support model in Scotland and Northern Ireland through progressive and dynamic leadership.
  • Act as champions for disabled people across the public administration to ensure equity and equality of access to services.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues across the health and social care landscape using a whole systems approach to deliver high quality services safely, whilst addressing deep-rooted inequalities faced by disabled people.
  • Contribute to the independent review of the social care system in Scotland, as outlined in the 2020/21 Programme for Government, Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland.


Our Mission describes what we aim to do to achieve our vision.

The mission of ILF Scotland is

To support disabled people, empowering them to lead their fullest lives.

In doing this, we will:

  • Be the best we can be for disabled people.
  • Be the best we can be for our staff and those we work with.
  • Be led by disabled people in identifying their needs, hopes and aspirations.
  • Ensure disabled people have appropriate information to make informed choices and control of their own lives.
  • Provide funds to enable disabled people to live independently and to be included in the communities of their choice.
  • Build capacity across the health and social care sector by collaboration, sharing expertise and strengthening partnerships so that collectively we are better informed about enabling independent living.
  • Protect our funds and be responsible for how we distribute them.
  • Contribute to national performance frameworks and government policy so as to be part of the whole system solution to providing better services.
  • Undertake further research and develop the evidence base to inform future policy regarding sustainability and the potential to better support disabled people to live independently.
  • Reinforce collaborative working with our Sponsors in the Northern Ireland and Scottish Governments.

We centre our model on the needs of disabled people and we base our professional recommendations on inclusion, trust and dignity. Our processes ensure we do this fairly, consistently, humanely and with compassion.


Our principles describe what we believe in and these define how we work. We have had these from day one and we continue to believe in them.

The core principle of ILF Scotland is that disabled people have the same rights, freedoms and abilities to lead the fullest lives they can, free from discrimination and on an equal basis with others.

When we act, we will:

  • Listen to disabled people and put them at the heart of our decision-making processes.
  • Treat everyone with dignity, trust, respect and compassion based on their individual rights and freedoms.
  • Endeavour to learn lessons from the impact of COVID on independent living, and ensure the potential long-term adverse impact is negated.
  • Be open, transparent and accountable in everything we do.
  • Work with those with lived experiences of disability to develop our services.
  • Act ethically, with empathy towards disabled people and the people who care for and support them.
  • Operate in a manner that is cost effective, represents value for money and provides additionality to statutory provision.
  • Be as agile and flexible as possible in the application of our discretionary powers to enable the person to achieve their independent living needs.
  • Empower all of our staff team to be leaders in their own activity and provide the conditions for them to be the best they can be.
  • Play an active role in partnership with others to re-design a social care delivery system based on human rights and independent living.

ILF’s Strategy 2020 – 2023

The ambition for ILF Scotland is to better enable independent living for disabled people.

As a newly established body, during 2016 - 2019 ILF Scotland worked hard to establish its identity
and credibility. To date, ILF Scotland has made over 205,000 payments totalling some £275m accurately, consistently and on time. In addition, we have won numerous awards across social care, finance, human resources, IT and communications and have an enviable reputation for leadership in delivering new public services.

Our journey to date has always been taken side by side with the people we support, and this ambition - to better enable independent living - has been the overwhelming outcome of our widespread engagement over the past five years.

However, the current global pandemic has changed a great many things. It has highlighted inequalities in health and care, and has led to a renewed determination amongst disabled people and their organisations for meaningful and lasting change. As we slowly emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we all need to do better at listening to disabled people, and their carers, and co-producing effective solutions to the independent living crisis we find ourselves living through. This will require us all to:

  • Take a genuinely collaborative and sustainable approach.
  • Be willing to reflect on past and current performance and behaviours.
  • Be willing to acknowledge mistakes.
  • Take an open minded and ambitious approach to co-producing solutions.
  • Be hopeful and optimistic that better outcomes are both possible and achievable.
  • ILF Scotland is ready and willing to continue playing its part in this. We have, therefore, identified three strategic priorities for 2020-2023.

Our strategic priorities are to:

  • Facilitate disabled people’s right to Independent Living.
  • Be leaders in enabling Independent Living.
  • Operate high-quality and efficient services.

These priorities sit comfortably within the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework ( and the Programme for Government Northern Ireland (

Both performance frameworks adopt a rights-based approach to creating a society founded on fairness, equality and respect where all people are able to live free from discrimination and participate in their communities on an equal basis.

As a public body, we are driven both to provide high-quality services that represent good value for money and to be good employers for our workforce. Taken together, these two key drivers will allow ILF Scotland to support the development of a society that is fair, inclusive, reduces inequalities and contributes to sustainable economic growth, whilst delivering high quality value for money services.

To deliver these three strategic priorities, each one has several key objectives, which will focus our activity over the life of the strategy.

Facilitate disabled people’s right to Independent Living

  • Determine the parameters to extend the reach and impact of ILF Scotland in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Explore agreement to further support disabled people to live independently in a sustainable way that the organisation can effectively manage.
  • Increase the internal capacity where necessary to process and better support disabled people with no detriment to current recipients.
  • Aim to develop the Transition Fund into a broad based, short term grants scheme for use during a range of life transitions.
  • Increase awareness levels of our fund and the numbers of people it can better support.

Be leaders in enabling Independent Living

  • Be leaders and champions for independent living for and with disabled people across all Local Authorities/Trusts and government departments.
  • Help develop a shared understanding and best practice model of enabling sustainable independent living outcomes.
  • Share our knowledge of the national picture across both Scotland and Northern Ireland to embed independent living outcomes for all disabled people in social care practices.
  • Support the principles of the social model of disability and independent living across all Government bodies.
  • Share our knowledge and work with people with lived experiences of disability to help the public sector deliver better and more integrated social care services.
  • Evidence our contribution to the National Performance Framework in Scotland and the Outcomes Delivery Plan in Northern Ireland.
  • Be bold and ambitious, unafraid to innovate and be creative when designing new services with disabled people at the heart of them.

Operate a high-quality efficient service

  • Deliver the highest standards of service for all that use and engage with us.
  • Introduce technical solutions and approaches which support the efficient delivery of the fund.
  • Develop a range of support tools that allows applicants and recipients to control the services and funds they receive from ILF Scotland.
  • Create a new reporting model to evidence success and satisfaction with the delivery of our service.
  • Be a leader for our people so that they see ILF Scotland as a Top Employer.
  • Reduce waste, minimise our carbon footprint and develop a sustainable model of operation that protects our environment.

Business Plan

Through the development of this strategy, we have attempted to identify what this means for the next three years for ILF Scotland. The outline business plan is placed at the end of this strategy document and aligns our key outcomes to the priorities in each year to 2023.

We will fully develop these intended outcomes into key performance indicators and measures of success during the first year of the business plan whilst recognising the impacts and priorities for recovery from COVID-19.


ILF Scotland has demonstrated both its value and credibility in the delivery of its first strategic plan. As we look to the future, we aim to build on the successes of the last 5 years and make independent living a wider reality for disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We want to help shape a society that is fairer, more inclusive, and reduces inequalities for disabled people.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis ILF Scotland has evidenced empathy and offered support where appropriate and possible. The lesson going forward is that many stakeholders tell us that the time is right for ILF Scotland to be bold and innovative, moving forward ambitiously. ILF Scotland therefore will examine ways to develop our reach and impact to better support disabled people to live independently and participate as citizens on an equal basis in our society.

We will continue to work collaboratively with Scottish Government, Department of Health Northern Ireland, Disabled People’s Organisations, COSLA, Local Authorities, Trusts and Partnerships, Social Work Scotland, Support Providers and others to help us achieve our ambition.

We will always put disabled people at the heart of everything we do and develop the services they tell us they need. As part of developing this strategy, we engaged widely with disabled people, their supporters, our staff and stakeholders from both the third and public sectors. We are very grateful for everyone’s time, wisdom and support and for the many ideas and positive feedback that we consistently received, which we found very uplifting. Your voices and your ideas have defined our vision and our way forward together.

As we launch our second strategy, we are working towards a future where disabled people have: better quality information to make informed choices; services that are accessible to them in the formats they need; and their support available to them when they need it. We cannot do this on our own and
in taking this forward, will be asking for help and support from others with lived experience. Working together, we can develop a model that is person led, co-ordinated and appropriately supported so that everyone can lead their fullest lives on an equal basis.

We aim to use this bold strategy to help make a substantial and sustainable change towards
developing a more inclusive society with reduced inequalities and improved equality of opportunity. By being our best, we believe we can be the best for disabled people and aim to deliver better public services and help protect our natural environment for future generations.

Thank you to the many individuals and organisations that have worked with us since 2015 and who have contributed to the development of this strategy.

A special thank you to our Northern Ireland Advisory Group, chaired by David McDonald, and our Scottish Advisory Group, chaired by Jim Elder- Woodward. These groups have been instrumental in ILF Scotland’s success, providing us with honest feedback, constructive criticism and real insight into our performance as an organisation and the reality of life for disabled people. We are very grateful to them.

Outline Delivery Plan 2020-2023

We are:

Led by our vision of making independent living a reality for disabled people living in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

We want to:

Facilitate the Independent Living needs of disabled people.

By the end of 2021, we will aim to have:

  • Provided evidence to inform a possible further extension of the Transition Fund.
  • Provided the research and parameters by which the 2015 Fund could effectively reach more people.
  • Provided the business case to reduce Available Income contributions.
  • Developed the policy framework to enable more flexible use of our funds to achieve better outcomes.
  • Adopted the language and rights-based approach to enabling independent living.

By the end of 2022, we will aim to have:

  • The evidence to support further opportunities for the 2015 Fund.
  • Extended the eligibility criteria to allow more access to the Transition Fund.
  • Understood more about how to support unpaid carers and made recommendations.
  • Developed partnerships and reciprocal referral mechanisms to be part of a whole systems delivery model for health and social care.

By the end of 2023, we will aim to have:

  • Where possible, more people accessing our funds to live independently.
  • Reinforced a commitment to sustaining a national role for ILF Scotland

We are:

Driven by our values of trust, dignity and respect and putting disabled people at the heart of
everything we do.

We want to:

Be leaders in enabling independent living.

By the end of 2021, we will aim to have:

  • Adopted a key role at a national level.
  • Become embedded in the HSC delivery model.
  • Contributed to the independent review of the social care system in Scotland.
  • Adopted joint working practices.
  • Opened our data for research and policy development.
  • Adopted an advocacy role with partners.
  • Undertaken more research into what works well.
  • Developed safe practices and technologies to complete review visits (COVID-19 practice).

By the end of 2022, we will aim to have:

  • Developed a robust data model in ILF Scotland to evidence successful practices.
  • Embedded joint working practices with key partners.
  • With partners and stakeholders, implemented a new model of person-led social care support.
  • Proactively provided communication and publications on enabling independent living.

By the end of 2023, we will aim to have:

  • Enabled the people that access our services to direct and manage their own support package with the
  • information resources and tools to do so.
  • Ensure the ILF model is considered in discussions of any national model of Social Care services for disabled people

We are:

Focused on being the best we can be, for each other and the people we support or work with.

We want to:

Operate a high-quality efficient service.

By the end of 2021, we will aim to have:

  • Understood what services disabled people want delivered and how they want them.
  • Understood success and satisfaction measures.
  • Minimised paperwork, removed double-handling and determined better ways of obtaining
  • information.
  • Safely reduced the reporting requirements on disabled people.
  • Implemented a quality and CI framework.
  • Staff who see ILFS as a leading life friendly employer.

By the end of 2022, we will aim to have:

  • Become digitally enabled as part of a whole systems approach to health and social care service delivery.
  • Offered self-service to recipients and stakeholders.
  • Technology enabled care and financial management.
  • Implemented an organisational sustainability plan.
  • Increased ease of operation for staff and professional colleagues.

By the end of 2023, we will aim to have:

  • The majority of our administration processes supported digitally.
  • A digital infrastructure which enables people to control and direct the services they receive.
  • Benchmarked ourselves against the best local authority practice and to lead from the front.
  • ILFS recognised as a leader in the design and delivery of independent living.

Contact Us

If you require this document in an alternative format please contact us using the details below:

ILF Scotland
Ground Floor, Denholm House, Almondvale Way Livingston EH54 6GA.

Telephone: 0300 200 2022

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