MECOPP – Rights, Responsibilities and Respect (3R’s Project)

National project
Award: £157,750
Timescale: May 2017 - April 2020

Project aims

This Trust-funded project provides legal support to people affected by dementia in order to help them access their rights to Self-Directed Support.

Self-directed Support (SDS) gives people the power to decide how to manage the money that has been allocated to them if they have social care needs.  It enables them to make informed choices on what their support looks like and how it is delivered, rather than decisions being made solely by local authorities on their behalf. 

The funding will be used by MECOPP (Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project) to provide legal support and advice to people with dementia and their carers in Scotland, where they feel that they have not been dealt with fairly. Where necessary, they will be supported to challenge decisions or the improper use of legislation. 


Social care in Scotland has undergone rapid change. Care and support for the individual is assessed, planned and delivered through the mechanism of Self Directed Support. The intent of legislation is to give the individual more choice, control and autonomy over how their support needs are met.

At the heart of Self-Directed Support is choice.  For example, local authority provision for assistance with evening meal preparation or getting ready for bed may only be at fixed times, and sometimes very early in the evening.  This means that someone who needs these services could find themselves having dinner and being in bed hours before they would normally do so.  Self-directed support can give that person the choice to eat and rest at a time that suits them.

However, many people with dementia and their families find they are not able to access this support, or they may not have been offered all four options available within SDS, which can mean they end up with little choice over the kind of support provided, and how and when it is delivered. This means that they are not being afforded their basic entitlements under the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013. 

More Information

This funding was awarded to MECOPP as they had previously carried out successful work around Self Directed Support.  In this instance, funding does not focus exclusively on ethnic minority older people, but on anyone with dementia in Scotland.

For the 3 R's Project, MECOPP's aim was to employ a lawyer and a small team to support individuals and third sector organisations.  This helps to provide legal support and advice to people with dementia and their carers in Scotland, where they feel that they have not been dealt with fairly.

On occasion, where necessary, they are supported to challenge decisions or the improper use of legislation. For example, someone living with dementia may have been offered reduced options due to their condition, or excluded from choosing SDS altogether.

Advice is also available to people with dementia and their carers to better understand their rights and their options.

Suzanne Munday, former Chief Executive of MECOPP, said: “The funding award marks a very important milestone in enabling people living with dementia to have full and equal access to self-directed support.  A diagnosis of dementia should not adversely affect rights and entitlements which are enshrined in legislation.  We look forward to working in partnership with the Life Changes Trust, people living with dementia and dementia support organisations to achieve real change.”

Specific activities include:

  • awareness raising roadshows, focusing specifically on dementia and human rights
  • training course in rights and self-directed support for organisations supporting people with dementia and their carers
  • dementia friendly versions of web-based resources on dementia and human rights
  • students with human rights policy and legal knowledge will be placed with organisations supporting people with dementia and their carers

The project has developed a three day training course for third sector professionals. The course covers social care law, human rights and equalities, and is designed to be a participative learning experience. The course has been delivered in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness and 64 delegates have received training.  MECOPP works in partnership with the Scottish Social Services Council to award ‘Open Learning Badges’ for participants completing the course and to date 185 separate qualifications have been awarded. The training course has been consistently positively evaluated. 

The project has recently joined the “SDS Collective”, a group of advocacy and campaigning organisation who have come together to promote improved practice in the development of SDS in Scotland. The work of the collective to date has primarily focused on planning the Collective’s launch event, which took place in November 2018.

You can read more about the 3R's project here.

There are currently numerous web-based resources on the MECOPP website, including dementia related factsheets, which you can find here

Their publication “Challenging Social Care Decisions in Scotland: A legal guide” is now available on their website or you can download it here. 

You can also download 'Dementia, SDS and Promoting Individual Autonomy: A guide to self-directed support for people with dementia' here:

MECOPP also continue to run workshops and information sessions for people with dementia and their carers on Self Directed Support, as well as training courses and frontline advice services. 

This project sits alongside a parallel programme of more general work on SDS being developed by MECOPP, which is funded through the Baring Foundation.

Outcomes we'd like to see

  • increased knowledge of people affected by dementia’s existing rights and entitlements under social care, equalities and human rights legislation
  • the principles of the Human Rights Act (1198) are adhered to when offering Self Directed Support to people affected by dementia
  • the human rights of people affected by dementia are fully understood by the local authorities providing them with Self Directed Support
  • individuals and organisations are provided with advice and support that seeks to challenge local authority decision making, where necessary, with a view to establishing a precedent

Additional Information

This project accepts both self-referrals from individuals who require assistance and third sector organisations which support individuals.  Due to funding from the Life Changes Trust, MECOPP can provide specialist support to people with dementia and their carers.To read more about the 3 R's Project, how it can assist you and to download a referral form, go to MECOPP's website