How much or how long?

Hi, we are completely new to sds and are just going through the process. Our question is how much is the grant or how many hours is the maximum. Social worker keeping everything quiet on this level and yes we know she has to go and sort of give our case. Dad is 84 and severely mentally impaired after brain injuries. Can’t be left alone. His mobility has deteriorated to using an zimmer at home but wheelchair for outside, yet ot has said he is not critical enough to get a permanent ramp. Also his disphragia after choking in a care home etc etc, we just would like to know what the maximum is so we have an idea of what to ask for. We are being given interim help at the moment, but with no idea of what we can ask for. Hope someone can help. So many things I want to add but will leave it there for just now. Thanks in advance


Every local authority has its own way of calculating individual budgets (using one of a number of different resource allocation tools to make sure that funds are fairly distributed), so unfortunately its impossible to say how much your dad’s budget will be. However, you/he should be given a ‘indicative budget’ as early as possible during the assessment process and the social worker should be completely transparent about this. Whatever the budget that is agreed, it should be enough to meet your dad’s support needs and you should not be told how the support will be delivered, i.e. this should be a decision that you make that will be best for him (and you). There is more info on budgets in the SDS Handbook here: Budgets and charges - The SDS HandbookThe SDS Handbook

Which local authority area are you in? If you’re new to SDS and your local social work team are not being open and collaborative, I would advise you to get in touch with your local independent SDS advice organisation and/or carers centre as soon as possible. They should know more about local social work policies and procedures: Find Local Information and Support - Self Directed Support Scotland | Self Directed Support Scotland (

Hope this gives you something to start with. Please feel free to ask any more questions you have about the process.


The section of the SDS Handbook that I linked to above has a bit at the bottom about what the SDS Standards and Guidance say around budgets (under ‘What should happen’ & ‘What the law says’). This stuff can be really helpful to ‘remind’ the local authority of their duty (you can quote them, if necessary).

I would recommend you have a look at them in the Handbook, but I’ll copy some of the Standards here so that you can see what I’m talking about:

  • All decisions that affect your choices, support, and personal budget should be recorded and shared with you.
  • Different people with similar circumstances may require different budgets depending on their own strengths, and the support they have in their life already from their family and community.
  • You should be told the likely level of the budget you will available, regardless of how much control and responsibility you choose to have for managing your support.
  • You should be involved in the development of your budget.
  • You should have maximum flexibility to use your budget in the way that you choose to achieve the outcomes you have agreed.
  • The way your council decides who gets what in their budget should be transparent and fair, for everyone.
  • You and the people who support you should have as much involvement as you wish, and as much help as you need through the budget process.
  • You also have the right to choose not to be involved in discussions about your budget, if you don’t want to.
  • If you want to, you should be able to find out how much budget you would get for each of the four Options (you can find out more about these in this section): Your options for controlling your support
  • Your council should make it easy for you to see and understand how your budget has been calculated.
  • You should be involved in decisions about what you can and cannot spend your budget on.
  • You should be able to be flexible and creative in how your budget is spent.

Wow thank you very much, that is very helpful and it’s obvious we need to read the handbook to get a better understanding of the process. Unfortunately the social workers meeting regarding dads case is this week, she has not been open or transparent at all. But thank you very much for taking the time to reply with this information .

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EDIT: I had assumed SDS Option 1 but of course that is not specified, so I’ve deleted my first response.

Have you considered the four SDS Options yet?

No josh we have had some of it explained over the phone but so much happening here that we have forgotten. I know one of them is to become an employer which we both are very scared of and so far as the care help we have been allocated is in the interim we haven’t had to make any choice yet. Spoke to social worker today about it again, she said she has email her bosses boss with our case and awaiting a reply, she hopes we can keep what we have at the moment, we are hoping for more. No copy of forward plan and that was the first indication regarding hours/grant. We just going round in circles. Ofcourse get caught up talking about everything else and forget to ask important questions. I read through the sds handbook or some of it but there’s a lot to take in.

I see. So you want to continue with the provision you have, only more of it, is that right? Are you completely happy with the current provider? Would something else be better? In my experience it really helps to have a reasonably clear idea of what the person’s needs are and what provision will meet their needs when you go into negotiations. Or at least have some idea. Otherwise people tend to just go with what the LA offers.

As far as I am aware local authorities can’t place arbitrary limits on the provision they offer as a matter of policy, they have to consider individual circumstances and offer something reasonable. Placing arbitrary limits as a matter of policy is likely to be what’s known as fettering discretion, and is unlawful. So to answer your question I don’t think there is a maximum. Or rather the maximum is the highest end of the range of reasonable options given the circumstances of the case, if you see what I mean, as far as I understand it. Of course local authorities will tend to go for the lower end of the range of reasonable options. But you can argue for whatever you think your dad needs. Some people need 24/7 care.

SDS Option 1 is where they give you money and you sort everything out yourself. This can include employing people, but could also involve contracting with a care provider. You can have the money in an account set up and controlled by you, in your name. LAs will try to get you to have a ‘managed account’ (which they control) or pre-payment card but you don’t have to have either.

SDS Option 2 is where you choose the support and the LA pays for it. You never get the money in your hands. Lends itself to situations where there is an organisation you know you want to use, perhaps.

SDS Option 3 The LA chooses and pays for everything. Least responsibility for you but also least control

SDS Option 4 Any mixture of the above.

I have SDS Option 1 for my son. Had to fight to get proper control of it.

To be honest, dad has incapacity but sister has poa. We done our best to look after him ourselves at home but after 9 weeks we realised it was too much. He cannot be left alone. The initial help was to let us have a break as opposed to what they could do for dad. Again to be honest there isn’t much but a different conversation or someone to take him out but we are still awaiting a ramp and one of the staff doesn’t do wheelchairs. So the situation is quite complex. The care unit have done their best to accommodate us but with last minute extensions to our intermediate help they are not getting enough notice. We are currently getting 28 hours of help which isn’t enough. The people who support carers put in another 8 hours last week but Ofcourse no one told us. Just goes on and on

It all sounds very disjointed @Mac.

You may find that you are not able to get the level of care you need for your dad via a care provider that the council funds (via Option 2 or 3), but that you could get this by paying for carers/personal assistants via Option 1 (i.e. direct payments). Certainly, I know of examples of people using Option 1 to pay for 24/7 care, so it is possible, but it’s usually not an easy route to go down as it requires a lot of work managing staff. You can get support with things like payroll and HR, but you would still be responsible for rotas and arranging holiday/sickness cover, which can be time-consuming. The most important thing is that you understand exactly what is being funded and what your options are for using this money.

I would recommend watching this 15 minute video, which does a good job of talking about budgets and what you can do with them (from about 6 minutes in, if you want to skip to it): What is Self Directed Support / SDS? A guide for carers and parents (

I don’t know if anyone has mentioned it yet, but it is worth asking social work about what technology could be used to give your dad more independence, as well as giving you and your family more time and less worry. Community alarms fairly are commonplace, I think, but there are many things that you may not be aware of. Your LA should have info on this, but this is from Perth and Kinross, where I live (it also has a link to a Virtual Smart House that you can ‘walk’ through): Technology Enabled Care - Perth & Kinross Council (

Thanks Justin, just off the phone to social worker and asked for a copy of the assessment she has submitted for our dad. She was rather surprised by this n said she will need to check with her boss if that would be ok. So much for the transparency. I will have a look at the video, I am in Glasgow.

That sounds like a good starting point. It amazes me that it is not provided as standard, but it seems to be a common issue around the country.

In case you are not already in touch with them (and want to be), you can find your local carers centre here: Your Support Your Way Glasgow - Getting support (

It varies, but most local authorities will not fund home care packages unless they are cheaper than nursing or care homes - but there is always some wiggle room there, and good luck with that.

thanks Robert, that for sure is one thing the sw did tell us

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Where you might have some wiggle room is if you are in a position to part-fund the support package yourself. My sibs and I helped both our parents in their mid-late 90’s until their deaths, with employing a live-in care-worker, who was from Romania, and first class.