SDS for therapy

I have requested to use my son’s budget (huge underspend) for specialist ASD therapy. He is presenting with possible co morbid ICD and/or anxiety but the SW have refused. My argument is that the Community Mental Health team are not in a position to offer the specialist heals in the timeframe we need. They currently have a 21 week waiting list. Any advice greatly appreciated as I have asked SW to escalate to a complaint.

Hi there,
Thanks for query about using an SDS budget for a specialist therapy. There’s a couple of things that come to mind for me:

  1. The Scottish Government have issued (and are currently updating) COVID-19 Guidance for Self Directed Support for Option 1 and 2. This highlights certain guiding principles that state:
    To maximise flexibility and autonomy for the supported person in meeting agreed outcomes’(p.3)
    It also states that:
    Supported people and unpaid carers should be able to use their budgets in new ways to meet their outcomes when workforce or other resources are affected due to sickness, self-isolation or shielding’(p.4)
    You can find the Guidance here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on self-directed support -
  2. You could also view this specialist service as an example of ‘Personal Support’ as defined under Free Personal Care. This might give this more weight to the importance of this type of support for your son. The Local Authority also have timescales to meet personal care needs, (I’m guessing your son’s over 18 but this applies to anyone regardless of their age who is eligible for free personal care), which is highlighted in this guidance:
    Free personal and nursing care: questions and answers -
    This states that:
    Q. How long will it take to receive services?
    A. For those who are assessed as being at critical or substantial risk there is a
    maximum waiting time of six weeks, from confirmation of need to the delivery of Free
    Personal and Nursing Care services. Confirmation of need means the point at which
    a person’s need for personal care is identified, following a care needs assessment or
    review.’ (p.3)
  3. There is also the SDS Statutory Guidance which looks at how health and social care needs interact. For example, they talk about ‘Joint working and combined budgets: what is “allowed”?’ (p.84)
    They go on to say:
    where the supported person receives both health and social care the NHS professionals and/or senior managers can arrange for the transfer of funding from the NHS Board to the local authority in order to fund the relevant health outcomes within the person‘s joint plan’ (p.84)
    They also state:
    13.12 The funding can then be directed by the supported person under the 4 options laid out in the 2013 Act’ (p.84)
    So one option for the longer term, is to ask that the SDS budget made available to support your son’s needs is a joint budget, to include both health and social care resources that you can then use as flexibly as you can to meet your son’s agreed Personal Outcomes. You can find the Statutory Guidance here if you need it:
    Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013: statutory guidance -
    The other thing you can do is to speak to an Independent SDS Information and Support service in your area who could support you with this. I can tell you who they are if you let me know which Local Authority area you live in, or you can do a search on our website and click on ‘Find Help’ in the top right corner here:
    Thanks, Mark
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Mark, Thankyou so much for such an informative response. I’ll take my time to digest it and let you know how we get on.