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Self-directed support bill published

2 March 2012

The bill to allow people receiving social care to take charge of their own care budget has been published.

People who receive social care must be given increased independence and the opportunity to change their lives for the better, Public Health Michael Matheson said as the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

Under the bill, health and social care will be more closely integrated and the estimated 200,000 adults and 16,000 children who currently receive care on everything from nursing and meals at home to assisting children with autism, will have more individual choice and control over their care package.

The legislation seeks to lay the foundations for self-directed support to become a mainstream choice for people receiving care, introduce the language and terminology of self-directed support into statute, and make it clear that it is the citizen’s choice as to how much control they want to have. It places a duty on local authorities to offer four options to individuals on the organisation and payment of their care package: “direct payment”; “direct available resource”; “mix of approaches”; or “local authority arranged support”.

Submissions

Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee has issued a call for evidence on the bill. The committee will scrutinise whether the bill will actually allow people to have the support they want, when they want it and where they want it.

Committee convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: “We are keen to hear from the thousands of adults and children who receive social care and support and who will be directly affected by this Bill on whether they believe it will improve the quality of their lives.

“Do they like the idea of a local authority paying money into their personal bank account that can be used to buy their own support? Do they agree that a 16 year old child is able to choose and manage their own support, including financial payments? We encourage everyone who will be affected by the bill to make their views known.”

Submissions on the bill should be made to the committee clerk before 24 April 2012.

Mr Matheson commented: "There has been extensive consultation and engagement with stakeholders on the way forward and I am confident the bill will help us build on the very positive progress made in implementing our 10-year strategy to providing real choice and control for those receiving social care."

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