Editorial Comment: Who’s in control now?

Scottish Executive officials have found themselves in hot water over new guidance on self-directed support (the Scots’ neat shorthand for direct payments and individualised budgets).

The guidance is aimed at improving take-up but critics have warned that its insistence on Criminal Records Bureau-style checks for personal assistants is likely to achieve the opposite.

A system without proper checks could be tantamount to negligence. The tricky part comes when individuals with capacity want to give a chance to someone who has offended in the past.

According to the Scottish guidance, the local authority has the final word and can withhold payments if it has concerns about the prospective employee. So what happened to the idea of handing control to service users?

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 Janet Snell

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