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23rd April 2018

New NICE Guideline for Learning Disability Services



I'm really interested in how good and outstanding services deliver care in different ways to similar groups of people. It comes about when skilled providers find a model of care that works for the people they provide services for and develop and replicate it.

There are in essence 3 parts to getting this right:

  1. The provider has a real intent, coupled with an effective management team and staff, and a plan to deliver a high quality service;
  2. The provider understands the evidence base that applies to how to design and implement a high quality service and can demonstrate how they have incorporated it; and
  3. The provider is able to achieve effective outcomes which improve and enhance the lives of individuals and their families. In essence, they put their own spin on best practice and use that to improve the lives of real people.

A provider who has the ability to achieve numbers 1 and 3 has the best chance of achieving whatever successes are important to them – whether that is within a single service or on a larger scale. They will have that especially valuable quality of being able to envisage and deliver change for people.

However, that is only sustainable if they also stay on top of number 2. With that in mind, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a new guideline that is important for all providers of learning disability services to read and apply, called 'Learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges: service design and delivery'.

The guideline recommends ways of designing and delivering services that aim to:

  • Help people to have a good quality of life
  • Support people to have good physical and mental health and emotional well-being
  • Maximise people's choice and control
  • Promote person-centred care and support
  • Help children, young people and adults take an active part in all aspects of daily life that they choose, based both on what they can do and what they want to do
  • Respect people's cultural, religious and sexual identity
  • Identify when children, young people and adults are at risk of developing behaviour that challenges, so that support can be offered as early as possible
  • Promote continuity of relationships
  • Take a 'Whole Life' approach.

The guidance basically gives an authoritative view on what a high quality service for people with learning disabilities should look like – and gives, amongst its resources, a "Baseline Assessment Tool" for reviewing whether there are gaps in current provision.

The added importance of understanding this new NICE Guideline is that it will quickly filter into how CQC inspectors will be regulating services. The guideline has a publication date of March 2018 and can be found here.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Stuart Marchant

We are a national firm with offices in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds and are consistently ranked in the top tier of healthcare firms in Chambers UK Guide to solicitors. We provide support for independent sector providers across the healthcare, adult social care and the children’s social care and education sectors in England and Wales. Read more

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