Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland
Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland

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Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland

1.1 Personalisation and you

Whether you use health and care services, are a carer, a parent or practitioner, you will have your own views about personalisation as well as ideas and questions. The first activity in this section asks you to start to identify what you know – and would like to know – about personalisation.

Activity 1.1: Concerns and questions about personalisation

Timing: (20 minutes)

To get you started, begin by viewing a short video about personalisation. It is an excerpt from an Open University panel event in front of a live audience in Dumfries in the south-west of Scotland. This panel met with a self-directed support stakeholder group in Dumfries and Galloway in January 2013. Its members give their definition of, and general views about, what personalisation means to them.

Download this video clip.Video player: kg097_unit1_vid001_640x360.mp4
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Willy Roe
So could I ask the panel each to introduce themselves and just tell us, in their own words, what personalisation, I suppose, is for them and how they feel that this new legislation, the Social Care Self-Directed Support Act of 2013 could take forward the idea of personalization? So tell us a bit about yourself in a few moments. And we’ll go to Allie first.
Allie Cherry
Good afternoon folks. My name is Allie Cherry. I manage NHS Lothian Self-Directed Support Test Site.
I have to make a disclaimer at this point. I’m not a clinician. I’m a community education worker, so I’m coming at it from a slightly different approach.
In terms of all what personalisation is for me, it’s very much about ensuring that the outcomes for the individual are at the centre of any discussion and decision making process. And as far as the impact that the act will have on people’s care, I think for me it’s very much about ensuring that the individual has the information that they need to make an informed choice, and it places the onus on professionals to make sure that that information is accessible to the individual to enable them to make that choice. Thank you.
Willy Roe
Thanks, Allie. Etienne, would you like to introduce yourself?
Etienne d’Aboville
Hello. My name is Etienne d’Aboville, and I’m chief executive of Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living. And we’re a centre for inclusive living, a CIL run by disabled people. We provide a variety of services to disabled people in and around Glasgow, including housing, employment, and probably core to the organisation, providing support to between 400 and 500 people using various forms of self-directed support in Glasgow and also in East Dunbartonshire.
I think it’s very pleasing just to hear Willy refer to the origins of direct payments and self-directed support, because I was probably one of those people in the ’80s who was involved in that campaign to bring in the legislation. So my perspective on personalisation is with the backdrop of direct payments being a key part of the campaign of the independent living movement. So I see it very much in the context of one of a range of issues that disabled people need to have resolved to enable them to participate in independent living – so housing, transport, education, employment. A keystone of that is the day to day support that people need, and so for me, it has a kind of collective dimension relating to the empowerment of disabled people, a choice, dignity, and control ultimately leading to citizenship, which is effectively what it's about for people at the end of the day, for me.
Willy Roe
Thank you. Kirstein.
Kirstein Rummery
I’m Kirstein Rummery. I’m a professor of social policy at the University of Stirling, and I’ve been involved in research into personalisation, looking at it internationally and in the UK and more recently within the Scottish context for not quite as long as Etienne’s been involved in campaigning on it, but it feels that way. And personalisation, for me, is really about devising systems that provide support for citizens that need that but in ways that are quite creative and ways that put them at the heart of controlling that support.
And I think I’m a slight fan of the latest kind of legislation, which is the SDS bill that went through this year, because it is quite evidence-based. It does build on a history of good experiences both within the UK and within Scotland. And as an academic researcher, I’m a big fan of evidence-based policy. And I think it does provide a useful framework for being able to provide better services and support for people the breaks us out of silos that we might have got entrenched into earlier.
Willy Roe
Thank you. And finally, John.
John Alexander
I’m John Alexander. I’m the Director of Social Work with Dunfries and Galloway Council. I’ve been here in that role for the last five years, during which, I’m pleased to say, I was able to oversee the involvement of Dunfries and Galloway in the Scottish government test sites for self-directed support. I’m a professionally qualified social worker by training. I’ve worked in local government for 35 years in a number of authorities, and for probably the majority of my career, my interest has been in services for adults and community care services.
For me, personalisation, I think, is a description of a way in which individual citizens are given the opportunity to take control and to exercise choice about the kind of life that they lead and allowed to achieve everything that they wish to achieve in their lives with the support of others. In that sense, I think of personalisation as rather broader as a concept than self-directed support. But I do agree with other speakers. I think that the present bill, soon to be enacted and implemented, allows those opportunities for individuals to exercise choice and control in relation to a very important aspect of their life, which is the kind of support and care that they need to, if you like, get them to the starting line to participate in local communities and lead fulfilling lives.
Willy Roe
Thank you very much. Well, thank you, all.
End transcript
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Concerns and questions about personalisation

Use your learning log [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] to note down your thoughts and any questions you have about personalisation and self-directed support. From time to time as you work through the course, come back to these concerns or questions to see if your study has helped to answer your queries.


Every learner will have compiled a different list of thoughts and questions. Here are some common questions asked about personalisation and self-directed support:

  • How much control will I have if my support is 'self-directed'?
  • Different people have different kinds of care needs – can personalisation cater for all kinds of people?
  • What if children disagree with their parents or adults disagree with family carers about their support needs – who decides how the support should be directed?
  • How safe is self-directed support for children and adults who use services?
  • Will professionals like social workers and support workers lose their jobs as we move towards personalised services?
  • How will personalisation work in times of transition, such as when a young person moves into adulthood, or an older adult begins to lose their decision-making ability?
  • Can people with cognitive impairments such as severe dementia or a brain injury truly direct their own care?

Remember to come back to your list of questions as you work through the course. You may also want to return to look at this video again. You will find more links to other parts of The Open University panel event as you work through this course.


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