The boards, established in October 2001, were announced in Valuing People, the White Paper on learning difficulty services published in that year.
The Department of Health’s intention is that the boards, which will exist in all local authority areas, should build on existing inter-agency planning structures. They will be concerned with services for adults. Children’s services will continue to be dealt with by children’s services planning structures.
The boards work within the overall framework of local strategic partnerships (qv). They are not be statutory but are responsible for developing the joint investment plan for ensuring the White Paper’s objectives; overseeing inter-agency planning; commissioning of comprehensive, integrated and inclusive services which offer real choice; ensuring that people are not denied a service due to lack of competence or capacity among service providers; the use of Health Act flexibilities; and ensuring arrangements for a smooth transition into adult life for learning disabled young people.
Members of the boards include service users and carers, and senior representatives from health, education and social services, housing, leisure, employment and independent providers.
Other UK equivalents: Joint planning forums were established in 1983/4 under the Mental Handicap Strategy in Wales