Government targets councils with jobs and housing duties

Councils will have to make progress on putting adults with learning disabilities into employment and settled accommodation under two new government targets.

The measures respond to calls from learning disability leaders and two of the key aims of Community Care’s A Life Like Any Other campaign – for people with learning disabilities to have the chance to have their own home and a job.

The learning disability targets are two of eight outlined in a public service agreement on increasing the proportion of socially excluded adults in settled accommodation, employment, education or training. They are among the 198 indicators top-tier councils will be assessed against from next year. Local strategic partnerships can also include them in their three-year local area agreements, setting out their top local priorities.

David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at Mencap, said the indicator on learning disabilities and employment was the “big prize” of the comprehensive spending review.

“Since the Valuing People white paper in 2001 there has been the least progress in this area, and hopefully this will go a long way to making jobs for people with learning disabilities a reality,” he said.

About one in 10 adults with learning disabilities are estimated to be in employment, compared with nearly half of all disabled people and close to three-quarters of the wider population.

But Congdon expressed disappointment that the CSR settlement for councils, under which government grant will increase by 1% per year in real terms from 2008-11, would not do enough to help councils meet the settled accommodation target.

The baseline for the performance indicators will be set in 2008-9 when information on current numbers has been collected.

The PSA also contains new performance indicators on increasing the proportion of adults in contact with secondary mental health services in employment and settled accommodation. It also includes similar targets for care leavers.

Related articles:
Workforce barriers still exist
Essential information on learning disabilities

More information
Comprehensive spending review

Contact the author
Maria Ahmed



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