The purpose of this paper is to consider the role of housing and housing support services in working with systems of self-directed support (SDS). The paper draws upon findings from an evaluation and follow up study of three SDS Test Sites in Scotland and wider research.
The evaluation of the SDS Test Sites took place in 2009-2011 with a follow up study in 2011-2012. Methods included a literature review; an analysis of secondary data on the use of SDS in Scotland; interviews with key stakeholders; learning sets in the three areas; 30 depth individual case studies and a large-scale stakeholder event prior to finalising the report. These data are drawn upon to reflect on the implications for housing providers and practitioners.
The interviews revealed that some SDS users had housing and related support needs, such as to prevent or resolve homelessness, to facilitate resettlement, to prevent hospital admissions, to access supported accommodation or to move from shared to independent housing. For some people flexible housing support seemed to enhance community living, also well-informed independent advocacy could make a difference to outcomes. While there was policy support for the Test Sites, it was notable that linkages between agencies at strategic level were limited, with neither housing nor health services greatly involved in strategic planning. Training, alongside liaison and partnerships, may help to broaden SDS.
While housing and related support needs and services were not specifically investigated in this evaluation, data suggest that the contribution of housing services may be both under-developed and under-researched in the context of SDS. There are indications that SDS may act as a catalyst for improving housing opportunities provided that collaboration between housing and care services is maximised.
This paper suggests approaches that may improve and consolidate the role of housing in achieving SDS objectives of maximising user control and choice, improving outcomes and sustaining ordinary living.
This paper considers the less charted territory of the implications of SDS for the role of housing services. While drawing primarily on recent research in Scotland the themes raised will have wider relevance to housing and care services generally.
The paper is developed from work commissioned by the Scottish Government. The views expressed in the paper are those of the authors alone. The authors are most grateful to all those who participated in this research and to the members of the wider research team, Dr Michelle Cornes, Bill Gray, Dr Susan Hunter and Simon Little. The authors are also grateful to Alice Ann Jackson (Social Researcher and Lecturer) who commented on an earlier draft of this paper, particularly on housing policy and related issues.
Laura Rosengard, A., Ridley, J. and Manthorpe, J. (2013), "Housing support and personalisation: observations from the Scottish Self-Directed Support Test Sites", Housing, Care and Support, Vol. 16 No. 3/4, pp. 136-144. https://doi.org/10.1108/HCS-08-2013-0011
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