Support groups must evolve to meet direct payment needs

Fears that support groups for Scotland’s direct payments clients
will find it difficult to represent all service-user interests were
raised at the conference.

Many of these groups were set up to represent only disabled people.
Strathclyde Centre for Disability director Nick Watson said the
needs of disabled people were likely to continue dominating the
agendas of support groups despite direct payments being extended to
all social services clients next June.

Scotland accounts for only 6 per cent of the 10,000 people
receiving direct payments in the UK, but the Scottish executive
expects this to increase once local authorities are obliged to
offer the payments to all service users. Currently, there are only
a handful of support groups in Scotland offering help and

Watson said: “Do we have different support groups for all types of
clients and is that too many for local authorities to manage? I
can’t see them providing money to support all these different

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