Following a number of serious concerns raised by the Challenging Behaviour National Strategy Group (CB-NSG), families and campaigners, the National Audit Office (NAO) has announced an inquiry* into whether the Government has made sufficient progress towards improving the provision of cost-effective care services for people with a learning disability. This follows the scandal of abuse and neglect uncovered at Winterbourne View in 2011.
The CB-NSG was set up in 2008 by The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) to provide support for people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges. The group brings together key representatives from charities, professional networks, research bodies, government, families and people with a learning disability.
The Government, NHS England and the local government have failed to meet the June 2014 deadline for moving people out of places like Winterbourne View and back to their local communities.
The NAO is due to report early in 2015. Their inquiry will address the following questions:
- Has the Government improved the provision of cost-effective care services for people with a learning disability following the Winterbourne View scandal?
- Has the Government achieved the key commitments set out in the 2012 Winterbourne View Concordat?
- Are all stakeholders working effectively to build capacity in the community and monitor the quality of care for adults with a learning disability?
CBF chairs the CB-NSG, of which Mencap is one of the members. Both charities have been campaigning together with families to improve local service provision for people with a learning disability since the scandal of abuse at Winterbourne View.
Vivien Cooper, chief executive of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation and Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, said:
“We know that the Government’s current commitments to people with a learning disability and their families are far from being met. We have raised serious concerns about this unacceptable lack of progress. These concerns have resulted in a national inquiry, which we hope will ultimately hold the Government to account.
“Inaction is no longer an option. We hope the inquiry will help to drive the change so urgently needed to enable people with a learning disability to get the right support at the right time and in the right place.”
Steve Sollars, whose son Sam was in Winterbourne View for two years up until 2010, says:
“My son Sam was at Winterbourne View. He is now living in the community and getting good care. But many other people with a learning disability are still stuck in units at risk of abuse and neglect. An inquiry is definitely needed into why, three years on from Winterbourne View, so little has changed. I hope the inquiry looks at the issues in depth, holds people and organisations to account, and leads to lasting change.”
About The Challenging Behaviour Foundation
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) is an independent charity providing information, support and workshops around challenging behaviour associated with severe learning disabilities to families and professionals. www.challengingbehaviour.org.uk
About Royal Mencap Society
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Independent charity Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. www.mencap.org.uk