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Self-Directed Support for Service Providers

Authors: Simon Duffy, John Dalrymple and Nic Crosby

This short report was prepared by three researchers who have also worked practically in the field of disability support, providing support services, working alongside people with disabilities and their families to design individual arrangements, and working with policy-makers to change systems.

This report is based on the combination of the personal experiences of the three researcher and their analysis of existing published research. We have also been able to build on the work of the Erasmus+ funded SKILLS project - which is a partnership between EASPD, KVPS, Anffas, In Control Scotland and the Centre for Welfare Reform.

The central message of the report is that the emergence of Self-Directed Support (personal budgets, direct payments, brokerage etc.) presents both opportunities and threats to service providers and will demand that service providers change:

  • The kind of practical support that they provide
  • The power relationship between themselves, disabled people and their families
  • Their strategic goals in national and European policy-making 

The biggest risk for service providers is that they do not engage with these important issues, but instead hope that these challenges will go away or that they only need to improve their 'marketing' to better sell existing services. Self-Directed Support is the inevitable consequence of taking human rights - and in particular the UNCRPD - seriously. It is also the only way to achieve true and meaningful deinstitutionalisation.

The true inclusion of disabled people, as equal citizens, can only take place if people are enabled to have their rights respected, including their right to live a life of freedom and meaning. This demands that professionals and service providers radically change their role and their relationship with disabled people. In fact the whole idea of 'professionals' and 'services' starts to become less coherent in a world where disabled people are in charge of their own lives and their own support. 

Hopefully this report provides useful overview of the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead as Self-Directed Support grows across Europe.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.


The publisher is EASPD.

Self-Directed Support for Service Providers © EASPD 2019.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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