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Self-directed support policy: challenges and possible solutions.

Harkes, Mary Anne; Brown, Michael; Horsburgh, Dorothy


Mary Anne Harkes

Michael Brown

Dorothy Horsburgh


Accessible summary

•Self-Directed Support is the latest system of social care giving vulnerable people in the UK a budget instead of a service provided by local authorities.
•There is a lack of evidence to demonstrate how people with intellectual disabilities access information and make choices about Self-Directed Support.
•Self-Directed Support is not yet available to all individuals with an intellectual disability.
•There is a need for further education and training for professionals and support staff to ensure that people who have intellectual disabilities are assisted to make informed choices about care provision.


A systematic literature review was conducted between September 2010 and April 2011 and published earlier in this journal, paper 1. The findings indicated that few studies of Self-Directed Support focused specifically on people with intellectual disabilities. The range of individuals' ability and distinction between adults with or without legal capacity have not been addressed. It is clear that Self-Directed Support is not, as yet, a viable option for all individuals with an intellectual disability. However, some who have accessed it reported an improvement in their quality of life. For Self-Directed Support to succeed for people with a wide range of intellectual disabilities, the level of awareness of its existence, and the potential barriers in relation to uptake, must be identified and addressed. This paper suggests possible strategies to maximise access to Self-Directed Support and identifies areas in which further research is required.


Harkes, M. A., Brown, M., & Horsburgh, D. (2014). Self-directed support policy: challenges and possible solutions. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 169-176.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 7, 2014
Deposit Date Apr 30, 2013
Print ISSN 1354-4187
Electronic ISSN 1468-3156
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Pages 169-176
Keywords Autonomy; intellectual disability; learning disability;
policy; Self-Directed Support;
Public URL
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