Minister: We’re struggling with Valuing People goals

The government admits it is ­losing the battle to improve the lives of people with learning ­disabilities.

Care services minister Ivan Lewis told adults’ services chiefs last week that a refresher document on Valuing People would be produced by a cross-government group later this year.

Ministers are also considering creating a cross-government target on improving the life chances of people with learning disabilities, it emerged at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services spring seminar.

Lewis said the “refresher” document would aim to “re-energise” the implementation of Valuing People, which has “slowed down in many areas”.

“We have lost significant momentum on the Valuing People white paper agenda and we need to get it back,” he said.

Lewis added that a lot of learning disability partnership boards, set up to deliver Valuing People locally, had “ground to a halt” and were not being given the opportunities to bring about changes at a local level as the white paper envisaged.

Mencap director of public affairs David Congdon (pictured) welcomed the decision to produce a successor document, so long as it had “proper targets, proper timescales and proper funding”.

He said: “The government’s vision for people with learning disabilities is actually fine, but there’s no impetus behind it. When the chips are down, when funding is tight, these principles go out of the window.”

User-led group People First (Self Advocacy) said the new document should include targets for free health checks, more funding for advocacy, including user-led self-advocacy, and getting people with learning disabilities into “real” jobs.

Community Care will launch a major campaign on improving the life chances of people with learning disabilities at Community Care LIVE on 16 May in London.

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Amy Taylor



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