Government admits departments are not following white paper guidance

The government has admitted that it is failing to take the learning
difficulties white paper Valuing People seriously enough
in its work, according to its first annual report on learning

A report, Making Change Happen, which is written in an
accessible format, agrees with the learning disability task force
that people across the government are not following the white paper
closely enough when drawing up plans, and that partnership boards
have failed to sufficiently involve service users.

The government’s report, which includes its response to the task
force’s first annual report published in January (news, page 6, 16
January), says: “Partnership boards have had to do a lot of things
very quickly. This has made it hard to work well with people with
learning disabilities.”

It acknowledges concerns raised by the task force report about the
closure of long-stay hospitals. “We are disappointed some places
are saying they may still not be able to help everyone move out of
long-stay hospitals to better places by April 2004, but we still
want them to go on trying,” it says.

The government has also announced the extension of the
implementation support fund for Valuing People policies by £2m
for 2004-5 and 2005-6. Director of implementation Rob Greig and the
Valuing People support team will have their contracts extended so
they can concentrate on helping partnerships develop. The
implementation support fund and team’s contracts were all due to
end in 2004.

The government report says a team of expert advisers will work with
the Valuing People support team for the next 12 months on the
subjects of advocacy, education, ethnicity, families, housing and

It also says a report on the initial work of the first ever
government-commissioned national survey of people with learning
difficulties being conducted by Lancaster University, research firm
BMRB and self-advocacy group Central England People First, is due
out in May. 

Making Change Happen, from

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