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National Guidance on Self-Directed Support



190. This section should be read in conjunction with the general sections.

191. Because of its innovative potential, self-directed support could be one way of ensuring minority ethnic individuals and families have better access to community care services. Users' assessed needs, including language and specific cultural needs, could be appropriately met through individually tailored support.

Meeting local needs

192. Availability of appropriate services such as translators, trained care managers and service providers, targeted local support, and PAs will all be necessary for the shift to self-directed support to become a reality and for people to be meaningfully integrated into Scottish society. Like others, minority ethnic individuals may have needs that are not obvious. Translators can equalise access to support for minority ethnic elders and disabled people to overcome communication support needs.

193. Some local authorities are able to get external support organisations to access their in-house translator services. Where this is not feasible, local authorities are required to provide sufficient funds to external support organisations so that they can buy in this service.

194. Local support organisations have some success in targeting minority ethnic trainees for PA training courses. For example, older people may wish to spend their final years in the company of people with whom they most identify: their own faith communities, those who eat their traditional food and those who watch their own language television.

Mrs Khan has dementia and as her physical well-being was deteriorating rapidly, she required support for her personal care, and to help her be less disorientated and anxious. Whilst she is able to speak the language of her birth place, she does not speak or understand English. Her family felt that conventional social services were not appropriate for her as she would not be able to communicate her needs and wishes. So her daughter provided all of her support.

Through self-directed support Mrs Khan now pays a personal assistant who can speak her language for 25 hours a week of support and her daughter continues to provide additional support. This arrangement means that Mrs Khan has been able to build up a relationship with her PA and there is consistency in her daily life. Her PA knows her needs and can help her to go for walks with her new baby granddaughter, go swimming at her local pool and to go shopping for the food that she prefers to eat.

How to mainstream self-directed support for local minority ethnic users

195. Ensuring that there is adequate funding of targeted local support services is one of the key ways for local authorities to ensure that self-directed support is routinely available for minority ethnic individuals. This support will help local authorities to:

  • promote self-directed support for minority ethnic users, as many people may only hear of self-directed support through word of mouth, may not be sure if they are eligible, or may not be aware of it at all. Awareness of locally funded support needs to reach the whole community and this can be achieved through, for example, outreach programmes
  • provide targeted information, appropriate training and specialist support to meet minority ethnic users' needs, and
  • train local authority care managers on race equality issues, and encourage a culture of open dialogue to enable more minority ethnic people to take up self-directed support.

Further information

196. The Department of Health in England has produced 'Breaking Barriers', a video or DVD on direct payments aimed at people from minority ethnic communities 55.