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Self-directed Support

Eligibility Criteria - what does it mean for you?

Some years ago Scottish Government and COSLA issued Guidance under Section 5(1) of Social Work Scotland Act 1968 which required local authorities to adopt a common standard eligibility framework.  The Guidance was intended to focus first on supporting those people who are in more urgent need and ensure that finite resources targeted on ensuring the most urgent needs were met in a timely manner. 

The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 provides the legal basis for choice and control over care and support for a supported person or a person legally appointed on their behalf.  Health and Social Care professional practice approach capitalises on supported people and carer’s own abilities, and strength based assets.  This is person centred approach that promotes collaboration, choice and control and facilitates and empowers individuals and carers to have shared ownership and responsibility over their care and support.
Eligibility criteria can be used as part of the assessment process for people requiring social care. The criteria relates to the two stages of the assessment process:

• for the Health and Social Care professional to assess needs and then,
• taking into account the needs in that assessment, decide which needs will be met by providing services
Simplified, the eligibility criteria is a framework of levels of access for support.

You can download a copy of our Eligibility Criteria Guidance for Adults and Older People and Community Care Services.

Eligibility criteria are a method for deploying limited resources in a way that ensures that those resources are targeted to those in greatest need, while also recognising the types of low level intervention that can be made to halt the deterioration of people in less urgent need of services. 
Eligibility criteria are intended to apply fairly and not discriminate between people’s needs on the basis of age, client-group, geographical location, gender, ethnicity, social class, sexuality, or any other basis apart from risk to independent living and wellbeing.

Intensity of Risk
Critical Risk: Indicates that there are major risks to an individual’s independent living or health and wellbeing likely to call for the immediate* or imminent* provision of social care services (high priority).
Substantial Risk: Indicates that there are significant risks to an individual’s independence or health and wellbeing likely to call for the immediate or imminent provision of social care services (high priority).
Moderate Risk: Indicates that there are some risks to an individual’s independence or health and wellbeing.  These may call for the provision of some supports via universal services, with appropriate arrangements for review
Low Risk: Indicates low risks to individual’s independence or health and wellbeing. There may be alternative support and advice that can be given for the foreseeable future.

In these definitions, the timescale descriptions are used to indicate that services are likely to be required as follows:
• Critical Immediate – required now or within approximately 1-2 days;
• Substantial Imminent – required within 1-3 months
• Moderate within the Foreseeable future – not within  6 months
• Low longer term – not required within next 12 months or subsequently.

For further information:

South Lanarkshire Eligibility/Prioritisation Committee Report

Care Information Scotland


South Lanarkshire Carers Network

Lanarkshire Carers Centre