LSC may stop funding care for people with learning difficulties

The Learning and Skills Council could stop funding personal care
for people with learning difficulties and disabilities in
residential colleges, according to a proposal leaked to
Community Care, writes Maria Ahmed.

An unpublished draft report on the LSC’s review of
provision for people with learning difficulties and disabilities
contains a recommendation to give responsibility for personal care
funding to local authorities and primary care trusts.

The recommendation follows concerns raised in the LSC’s
interim report, published in June, over “anecdotal
evidence” suggesting that LSC funds for education and
training were being used to purchase care and health provision.

The interim report said this resulted in a
“disparity” in funding, with some learners being funded
at high levels while reducing the amount available for others.

The report outlined the LSC’s intention to review
“assumptions” over “who bears responsibility for
funding the ‘care costs’ of residential
provision”, and suggested developing “strategic
partnerships” with health and social services to explore
“joint funding options”.

But campaigners fear that local authorities and primary care
trusts may not be willing or able to meet the costs of personal
care if the LSC proposal is carried forward, resulting in fewer
people going to residential colleges.

Andrew Holman, director of learning difficulties organisation
Inspired Services, said the proposal would have a
“negative” effect.

“It is doubtful that local authorities would provide extra
funds as this would increase pressure on budgets. If they pay for
personal care it will mean a lot less money for other

He pointed to local authorities’ “reluctance”
to fund services for people with complex needs.

“It’s worrying that many local authorities send
people to residential colleges when it is not appropriate, but they
do it to save money as the LSC will fund the placement,” he

“If the LSC recommendation is carried forward I hope it
will push local authorities to arrange appropriate services rather
than just sending people away.”

Joan Scott, a learning difficulties consultant, warned that
people could lose out on going to college if they could not get the
level of care they needed.

The LSC said it would consider the final report and
recommendations later this month. The report will be published in

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