Collaborative research report published into self-directed support complaints processes

A research report, carried out by the Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law and the Strathclyde Law Clinic, was published this week titled “Accountability and the Implementation of Self-Directed Support: Complaints, Redress and Human Rights Principles in Practice”. 

The Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 gives individuals choice and control over their delivery of their care. It is grounded in human rights principles derived from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006. 

The research, for In Control Scotland, examined the experiences of advocacy organisations, law centres and advice agencies in their work supporting people to complain to local authorities about their self-directed support. 

The research emerged from discussions with LLM Human Rights Law graduate, Dr Sam Smith, founder and director of C-Change Scotland. The work was originally motivated by an apparent lack of legal challenges relating to self-directed support, it explored experiences of complaints processes within local authorities, routes to potential legal challenges, and barriers to making complaints. 

The report highlighted three key findings, around inconsistency of complaints processes, limited availability of free legal advice, and a lack of detailed focus on human rights dimensions, along with multiple barriers to effective redress that people faced. 

The research was carried out by Strathclyde students Clare Gallagher, Charmaine Gittens, Saskia Harper, Ifueko Joy Okungbowa, Sayali Walavalkar, and Jamie Walker, supervised by Mr Douglas Jack and Dr Elaine Webster. 

Project co-lead, Douglas Jack, said:

The report demonstrates again that enacting human rights-based legislation is only the first step in ensuring that peoples’ rights are upheld. By identifying the various barriers that stand in the way of those that wish to satisfy their rights under the legislation, including through legal challenges, the report hopes to support our partner, In Control Scotland, to influence discussion about how these barriers can be removed.

View the full report and a short briefing paper.