Learning difficulties campaigners have expressed their
disappointment that the Valuing People support team will no longer
be transferred to the Social Care Institute for Excellence.
The proposed transfer of the team, along with six other government
programmes, was scuppered last week amid disagreements between Scie
and the Department of Health over independence and influence.
Head of policy at social care charity Turning Point Richard Kramer
said: “The transfer would have enhanced the work of Valuing People
as Scie is at arm’s length from the DoH and more effective in
tracking expenditure and making sure it reaches front-line
He called on the DoH, which is now widely expected to retain
responsibility for the Valuing People support team, to ensure
greater clarity on how money was spent.
Kramer said: “Currently less than 1 per cent of the £4bn spent
on learning difficulties services relates to Valuing People. This
needs to be monitored properly.”
Andrew Lee, director of service user group People First, said that
the transfer of the Valuing People support team to Scie could have
led to more effective change at grassroots level, but if Valuing
People remained too close to the government its impact on the
ground could be weakened.
“Valuing People is only just becoming known on a grassroots level,
and Scie’s independent position may have helped that further,” he
Charities also raised concerns that the work of the Valuing People
support team could be “diluted” by the proposed merger with the six
other government programmes, including the Change Agent team and
the National Institute for Mental Health in England (Nimhe).
Learning difficulties charity Mencap wants clarity on the impact of
the move on the Valuing People support team, and warns it could be
“dwarfed” by Nimhe.
Lee said that he suspected that the reasons for the merger was most
likely a “cost-saving” exercise and he called on the government to
ensure proper investment in Valuing People.
But director of Valuing People Rob Greig insisted that the
partnership should strengthen Valuing People “by giving greater
opportunity for cross-agency support for people with learning