Government admits failures in learning difficulties policies

The government has admitted that it is failing to take the
learning difficulties white paper ‘Valuing People’ seriously enough
in its work, according to the first annual report on learning
difficulties, writes Anabel Unity

‘Making Change Happen’ agrees with the learning disability
taskforce that people across the government are not taking the
learning difficulty white paper seriously enough when making plans,
despite the fact it was published two years ago. It also says that
partnership boards have failed to sufficiently involves service

The government’s report, which includes its response to
the taskforce’s first annual report in January, said:
“Partnership boards have had to do a lot things very quickly.
This has made it hard to work well with people with learning

It also acknowledges concerns raised by the taskforce report
about the closure of long-stay hospitals. “We are
disappointed some places are saying they may still not be able to
help everyone move out of long-stay hospitals to better places by
April 2004, but we still want them to go on trying,” it

The government has also announced the extension of the
implementation support fund for Valuing People by £2 million
for 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Director of implementation Rob Greig and the Valuing People
support team will have their contracts extended so they can
concentrate on helping partnerships develop. The implementation
support fund and the teams’ contracts were all originally due
to end in 2004.

The government report says a team of expert advisers will work
with the Valuing People support team on the subjects of advocacy,
education, ethnicity, families, housing and work for the next 12

It also says a report on the initial work of the first ever
government-commissioned national survey of people with learning
difficulties being conducted by Lancaster University, research firm
BMRB, and self-advocacy group Central England People First, is due
in May.

‘Making Change Happen’ from

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