One year on - 2015 report on helping young people move on successfully

Date: 20th September 2016
Category: Social security and childcare
Author: the Self-Directed Support (SDS) Consortium

This report sets out the findings from a knowledge exchange project which focused on young people's transition from school to adult life against the backdrop of the Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act (2013).

The report was commissioned by a consortium of organisations funded by the Scottish Government SDS Capacity Building Fund. The consortium was led by Quarriers and involved Cornerstone, Sense Scotland and The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, and the following Local Authorities: East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire and South Lanarkshire. The knowledge exchange project ran from May 2014 until the summer of 2015.

The project set out to explore the following four questions:

  1. Does Self-Directed Support enable people with additional support needs to have more choice and control in their support?
  2. What support and services do young people and their families want to be commissioned in the future?
  3. To what extent are the personal outcomes important to any individual reflected in the way that support and services are commissioned?
  4. What do organisations do in supporting people that either helps or hinders choice and control?

The project first explored the wider legislative and policy background in Scotland relating to Self-Directed Support (sometimes referred to in this report as SDS), Personal Outcomes, Communication Support Needs, The Creative Arts and Transitions. As well as clarifying the key milestones related to transitions, it also helped us understand that choice and control can only ever be evident if the voice of a young person is clearly at the centre of any transitions process. The policy backdrop expects this, no matter the challenges arising from communication support needs.

By the end of the project, 34 young people had some contact with the project and shared their experiences of leaving school. Of this number, 27 young people attended arts sessions run by the project team; seven young people shared their experiences through interviews, and for three young people who left school in May 2015, we developed detailed personal stories using material from a wide range of sources. The young people lived in many different local authorities, although the more detailed stories were from young people connected with organisations from the SDS Consortium. In addition, the project gathered feedback from professionals involved with partner organisations within the SDS consortium in order to gain a wider perspective on the main research questions.

Sense Scotland - who helped to write the report - have highlighted that there is still a long way to go with the roll out of Self Directed Support and certainly some way still to go in relation to involving young people in decisions about their lives. Sense Scotland are committed to the recommendations that were reached and are committed to the use of the Principles of Good Transition.