1. Home
  2. Resources
  3. SKILLS Project

SKILLS Project

In 2017, with support from the European Union's Erasmus+ programme, we created a network for learning about self-directed support called the SKILLS project. 

The SKILLS project developed a range of resources to help countries develop systems of self-directed support. In 2019 we were awarded a further 3 years of funding to strengthen and extend this network and to advance self-directed support across the whole of Europe.

The project is led by KVPS and is managed in partnership with the Finnish National Agency for Education. However, although the hub is based in Europe, we welcome membership from leaders on self-directed support from around the world.

What is self-directed support?

Self-directed support is the name for a system of support that puts people in control of their support and means:

  • Confidence - people know their voice will be heard
  • Control - people shape their support to fit their own life
  • Connections - people grow strong relationships of love and power
  • Contribution - people share their gifts and help create a better world

Directing your own support is a human right and it is a very similar to idea of independent living and it is based on the principles established by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

What is the self-directed support network?

Our network is made up of organisations who are leading work in their home country or region on self-directed support, particularly those working alongside people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Our goal is to work in partnership with other important European and International bodies, especially those led by disabled people, and to help ensure we can achieve citizenship for all.

We are currently exploring how we can best support the leadership of disabled people at national, European and global levels.

Who is part of the network?

At the moment the network is made up of the following organisations:

Australia - Western Australia Individualised Services (WAIS)

CanadaCanadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship (CIIC)

EnglandCentre for Welfare Reform

Europe - the European Association for Persons with Disabilities - EASPD

Finland - Suunta

Greece - Puzzle


Lithuania - Samanta Savickaitė, Klaipėda University

New Zealand - Manawanui

Scotland - In Control Scotland

Spain - Fundación Aprocor & Plena Inclusión

USA - In Control Wisconsin

We welcome new members - If you are trying to develop self-directed support, personal budgets or other similar changes in your country or region then please contact Simon Duffy to explore how you could join the network.

What do we do?

The network works to advance self-directed support. In particular:

  1. Share information on best practice, research
  2. Offer training and support to each other
  3. Map progress on self-directed support around the world

For more details see the sections below:

1. Useful information

In the first phase of work the SKILLS project developed useful materials that can be freely shared. The key resources include:

  1. A short animated film that explains the basic idea of self-directed support
  2. A workbook for people for people with intellectual disabilities and their families
  3. A guide for support staff
  4. A series of other films on self-directed support
  5. Stories about people using self-directed support in practice
  6. Training resources for teaching about self-directed support
  7. A discussion paper exploring why self-directed is important but challenging to implement
  8. An atlas outlining progress on self-directed support
  9. Strategies for political lobbying on self-directed support
  10. Infographics on self-directed support

If you want to share your materials with across the network then please get in touch. We would also like to hear from anyone willing to translate any of these resources into other languages. Currently we have these resources available in:

2. Training and support

In 2020 we will be launching a series of additional resources:

3. Global SDS Research Group

Citizen Network is working with partners from around the world in order to understand how self-directed is developing in different countries and regions. In particular we want to understand:

  1. How widespread is self-directed support?
  2. How real are the changes being made?
  3. Where are people making the most progress?

We are working to develop maps which show progress of self-directed support:

  • Progress on SDS globally - go here
  • Progress on ISFs (managed budgets) in England - go here

If you are willing to help us get a better understanding of self-directed support in your country or region please get in touch.

Other important research on self-directed support is hosted by:

Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship (CIIC) - who host a database of global research on SDS 

Western Australia individualised Services (WAIS) - who lead work on personalised support

Centre for Welfare Reform (CfWR) - who publish diverse work on self-directed support

We are also working on an online learning platform to provide useful information on Self-Directed Support:


Please visit the platform and share with anyone you think will be interested.


Simon Duffy

John Dalrymple

Dave Goswell


Piloting for Self-Directed Support

Piloting for Self-Directed Support

Simon Duffy, Kate Fulton and Tim Keilty shared their work with leaders in Finland in order to explore how best to pilot and develop self-directed support.

Self-Directed Support and Community Organisations

Self-Directed Support and Community Organisations

Kate Fulton shares the recent changes to the Australian support system (NDIS) and work by Avivo and others to radically redesign community support organisations.

Adventurous Social Work

Adventurous Social Work

Tim Keilty on the reality of self-directed support for social workers and the need to help families develop solutions that make sense to them.

Self-Directed Support and Social Justice

Self-Directed Support and Social Justice

Self-directed support is a matter of social justice... but it is constantly threatened by consumerism and bureaucracy.

World SDS Map

World SDS Map

Dave Goswell is leading work to map the progress of self-directed support in different countries and regions around the world.

Self-Directed Support Resources in Greek

Self-Directed Support Resources in Greek

Self-Directed Support Resources in Greek

Self-Directed Support Resources in Spanish

Self-Directed Support Resources in Spanish

Self-Directed Support Resources in Spanish

Self-Directed Support Resources in Italian

Self-Directed Support Resources in Italian

Self-Directed Support Resources in Italian

Self-Directed Support Resources in Finnish

Self-Directed Support Resources in Finnish

Self-Directed Support Resources in Finnish

Self-Directed Support Resources in English

Self-Directed Support Resources in English

Self-Directed Support resources in English