Over the next few columns we will look at some different organisations in East Renfrewshire, starting with The Self Directed Support Forum (SDS), an advice and support organisation. They are based in Giffnock and help to navigate government policy changes on ways that community care services are being delivered. Everyone in receipt of community care — homecare, respite and day centre care — are entitled by law to decide how they want their care to be delivered to them.

There are four SDS options to choose from: 1. The person get direct payment and manages their budget, for example, by using it to employ a personal assistant, take part in social activities or purchase equipment to improve their wellbeing.

2. The person has their budget managed by either a care provider, or another organisation, that can help them plan their care and support.

3. The person gets a direct service from the council, for example home visits.

4. The person can use parts of their budget with previous options.

So far SDS is proving a challenge for many looking to go down this path. In East Renfrewshire, there are various barriers in either having an assessment of needs, or getting their package put into place in the way they want. Many are waiting a long time for assessment, then being told they can’t get certain things or that it’s not for them. Issues need to be addressed about individual’s entitlement and about the timeline they are facing. Additionally it is worrying that very often the language used in relation to SDS is associated with the budget cuts.

In order for SDS to reach it full potential and enable people to take control over their support entitlement, it’s important that it’s not defined by a negative stigma and subject to long waiting times. If you have not heard of SDS before and you need any help or support you should go to the forum , aimed at people who needs help with information about Self Directed Support or who have trouble with their current support package. If you are looking to get Self Directed Support (SDS), or just want more information ,please call the forum on 0141 638 2525 or you can e-mail them at admin@sdsforum.org.