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

Outcomes in practice

The strategy for self-directed support in Scotland outlined the need for culture change to enable citizens to have choice and control over their support. One of the strategy's aims is that people will be 'confident in identifying and agreeing the outcomes they want (Scottish Government, 2010b, p.32). The Self-directed Support (Scotland) Act 2013 sets out the ways in which this aim is to be achieved in practice:

Professional staff and the person must work together to make a plan for the person’s care and support. They will agree on outcomes for the person – what they want to see happen in the person’s life. The plan will help the person work towards this.

(Scottish Government, 2013, p.6)

To achieve the level of collaboration required to agree realistic and achievable outcomes that matter to each individual, professional staff require well-honed skills in communication, including relationship building, problem-solving and negotiation. For social services workers, these capabilities are set out in the Framework for Continuous Learning in the Social Services . [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

The next exercise provides an opportunity to consider the relevance of outcomes-based thinking to self-directed support.

Activity 3.7: Pam Duncan’s story so far

Timing: (Allow about 30 minutes)

In this video on the IRISS website, Pam Duncan talks about her life and her experiences of care services and self-directed support. As you watch the video, make some notes on how traditional services and the change to direct payments has impacted on Pam’s life. (If you prefer, you can read the written transcript on the same web page).

  • What are the outcomes that Pam has been able to achieve as a result of the change to direct payments?
  • How do these outcomes relate to the Talking Points Outcomes Framework that you explored in the previous activity?

Use your learning log to record your answers.


You may have identified a range of different outcomes . Some of these may have been about Pam’s quality of life, e.g. seeing friends. There were also process outcomes about the way that having choice and control enabled Pam to ‘make choices that other people would make’. Finally, there were ‘change outcomes’ relating to the way that self-directed support enabled Pam, like other young people, to move towards increasingly independent living.

Thinking more broadly, some of the advantages of an outcomes-focused approach could include:

  • citizen choice
  • citizen control
  • citizen direction
  • sense of ‘ownership’ of the service input
  • sense of achievement for service user
  • a move from dependency towards autonomy.

Find out more

Talking Points: Personal Outcomes Approach – Summary Briefing

Talking Points: Personal Outcomes Approach – Practical Guide

‘Measuring Personal Outcomes: Challenges and Strategies’ (IRISS video storyboard)


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