Support in the Right Direction

Support in the Right Direction was a 3 year programme (2012-15) funded by the Scottish Government’s Self-Directed Support Branch to improve understanding about ‘what works’ in Independent Support for Self-directed Support (SDS).  Through this programme, Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) delivered training workshops, gave tailored support and organised events to help 42 organisations, which provide Independent Support, to evidence their outcomes.  We also helped Scottish Government think through the reporting requirements for funded projects and analyse the evidence they received in reports.

The Story of Support in the Right Direction documents the process of running this thematic programme and shows the difference we made and what we learned.

What works in Independent Support brings together the learning from all the organisations taking part in this programme.


Another strand of the programme involved ESS working with funded projects to identify the outcomes of Independent Support and how best to evaluate them. An interim document was published in June 2013.

Building on the work of this first year, two final documents (superseding the interim document) were launched in March 2015: 

The value of Independent Support

Intended primarily for funders and commissioners, this document explains the different types of Independent Support, what difference Independent Support can make (outcomes), and what evidence there is for this, including some case studies.

Measuring the difference Independent Support makes

This document is intended primarily to help organisations providing Independent Support evaluate their work.  However, it is also likely to have value for those who fund or commission Independent Support. Case studies describe projects’ experiences of using a range of information collection methods.

Watch the videos below of Jess Wade, Manager of SDSS and Lisa Lee, SDS manager at Penumbra introduce “The value of Independent Support” at ‘Well begun’ event, March 2015. 

Check out the video that Highland SDS Consortium created on SDS user involvement and see how service users with learning disabilities or mental ill health have been trained to evaluate existing services as part of the project and talk about their experiences.

The final strand of the Support in the Right Direction programme involved working with a group of funded Independent Support projects to produce: Why bother involving people in evaluation? – Beyond feedback. 

This workbook helps organisations plan why, when and how to involve the people they work with in evaluation.  It has been produced as an editable PDF document which you can fill in, save, edit, share with your colleagues, and print. 

The initial aim was to share what we learned with other Independent Support projects working with people eligible for SDS; however we believe that the workbook will also be relevant to third sector organisations working in many other fields. 

Download your copy here