Ethnic minorities unknown to services

Under a quarter of people with learning difficulties from ethnic
minority groups are known to services, according to a report out
yesterday, writes Maria Ahmed.

The report by the Valuing People Support Team criticised learning
disability partnership boards for “a lack of strategic
leadership and action” over ethnic minority issues.

The support team said it was also a “cause for concern”
that only just over half of all learning disability partnership
boards had given responses for the report, which is being submitted
to care services minister Liam Byrne this week.

Only 22 per cent of partnership boards used the Learning Disability
Development Fund, central government funding for Valuing People
priorities, to support initiatives relating to race equality,
despite government encouragement to do so, the report found.

Just ten per cent of partnership boards reported that all their
strategies routinely considered people from ethnic minority

Partnership boards identified obstacles to improving services
including limited resources, lack of staff time, a lack of
organisational commitment and difficulties in engaging ethnic
minority groups.

The report said: “Poor information, small numbers of people
from minority ethnic communities in the local area and a lack of
engagement with local minority ethnic communities seemed to be
given as reasons [by partnership boards] for not pursuing strategic
action, rather than as factors stimulating such


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