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27th September 2015

Funding Improvements for People with Learning Disabilities

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Scottish Government introduced a new strategy in 2013 to improve services for people with learning disabilities. It is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The implementation focuses on four main areas. These are:

  • A healthy life - To achieve and enjoy a high standard of health, living and family life.
  • To have choice and control - People are to be treated with respect and dignity and are protected from abuse or exploitation.
  • Living independently - To be able to live independently in your own community, with access to all social and community resources.
  • Active, inclusive citizenship - To have equal say and involvement in how community and society operates and develops.

It is good to see that the government is putting money where its intentions are, in improving life for people with learning disabilities. One example is the recent withdrawal of Independent Living Fund allowances for people with disabilities. The Government in Scotland has decided the impact on people from losing this financial support is unacceptable, and has introduced a scheme whereby they will maintain the allowances in Scotland. This shows a real commitment to maintaining the quality of life for people with learning disabilities.

The Scottish Consortium

The Scottish Consortium for learning disabilities recently held an Active, Connected and Included Conference which highlighted good progress being made and inclusive policy and practice being followed.

The government is currently accepting applications for 2015/6 funding to improve services in five key areas as part of the current implementation stage. These are:

  • Effective interventions for parents who have learning disabilities;
  • Effective interventions to tackle hate crime;
  • Alternative models to out of area placements for people with complex care needs;
  • Innovative social connectedness for people with learning disabilities;
  • Innovative employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities.

These are all important goals to be achieved nationally. Two of them strike me as being particularly significant, points 3 and 5.

Employment and Learning Disabilities

Employment has been a problematic area for many people with learning disabilities. While some good progress has been achieved, there remains an inbuilt resistance in this area. We all take pride in our status of employment, it’s 'what we do' when asked at a party. Let's hope the same will apply for all people with disability in the future. Also, the need for local care placements close to family and in the local community was highlighted by the Winterbourne tragedy. It is good to see the intention to continue to downscale and localise services to people's own communities.

The new strategy gives hope that real improvements are being planned for and achieved for people with learning disabilities.

Tony Clarke - QCS Expert Scottish Care Contributor

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