Many thanks for your message. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re having such difficulties at the moment.
The SDS Statutory Guidance which came out to support the SDS legislation is actually very clear about about how people can use an SDS budget, particularly under Option 1 (a direct payment). The Guidance states that:
‘The authority should ensure that the relevant local guidance or procedures work to assist the person to use the available financial resource in a variety of ways. In other words, to use it in any way provided that it will secure the provision of support agreed with the professional and provided that it meets the outcomes contained in the support plan’ (p.44) (original emphasis on a’any way’ is underlined)
Whilst this specifically relates to Option 1, this could also equally relate to Option 4, where part of any resources might be provided under Option 1 of SDS.
The Guidance goes on to further state:
‘A direct payment is not a benefit and nor is it a gift. It is a means to meet eligible needs. Its ultimate purpose is to meet the eligible needs of the supported person. As such, it should relate to the person‘s support plan. The direct payment should be used in flexible ways which relate to the outcomes
set out in the support plan’ (p.44)
So there is an expectation that people receiving a direct payment should be supported to use this is as flexible a way as possible to enable them to meet the needs that have been identified.
Some Local Authorities will provide guidance to help people understand how they can make use of such resources. They might use a ‘traffic light’ type system (Green, Amber and Red) to highlight what people can definitely use a budget on, what needs further discussion before agreeing the use of the budget and what it definitely can’t be used on. So for example, paying for any kind of gambling or illegal activity wouldn’t be allowed, but most other things could be.
The issue that many people face is whether the way in which they would like to spend the SDS budget (on a particular activity or piece of equipment), is something that can meet the identified needs of the person requiring support. So it’s really important to be able to show the connection between the use of the budget and a person’s needs. This can often be done in the Support Plan, where you could identify the Personal Outcomes you’re trying to achieve and how the spending of the budget in that way meets those Personal Outcomes.
Obviously, you can spend a budget in many different ways. This could be a large one-off purchase or a smaller on-going spend. They key is linking the spend to the needs that need to be met.
You mentioned that you’d been in touch with a local forum. I’m not sure what part of the country you’re in, but all Local Authority areas (apart from Moray) have an Independent SDS Information and Support service funded by the Scottish Government. I can share their contact details with you if you’d like, as they might be able to support you further with this.
In addition, as a carer, you have a right to an Adult Carer Support Plan, which may (depending on local eligibility criteria) result in an SDS budget being allocated to meet your needs as a carer - or being directed to further supporting your daughter.
If you were able to share what area of Scotland you are in I will be able to find some further contact details for you.
I hope that sounds ok for the moment Gillian.
Many thanks, Mark