Concerns over government’s Valuing People team after Scie move fails

    Learning difficulties campaigners have expressed their
    disappointment that the Valuing People support team will no longer
    be transferred to the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

    The proposed transfer of the team, along with six other government
    programmes, was scuppered last week amid disagreements between Scie
    and the Department of Health over independence and influence.

    Head of policy at social care charity Turning Point Richard Kramer
    said: “The transfer would have enhanced the work of Valuing People
    as Scie is at arm’s length from the DoH and more effective in
    tracking expenditure and making sure it reaches front-line
    services.”

    He called on the DoH, which is now widely expected to retain
    responsibility for the Valuing People support team, to ensure
    greater clarity on how money was spent.

    Kramer said: “Currently less than 1 per cent of the £4bn spent
    on learning difficulties services relates to Valuing People. This
    needs to be monitored properly.”

    Andrew Lee, director of service user group People First, said that
    the transfer of the Valuing People support team to Scie could have
    led to more effective change at grassroots level, but if Valuing
    People remained too close to the government its impact on the
    ground could be weakened.

    “Valuing People is only just becoming known on a grassroots level,
    and Scie’s independent position may have helped that further,” he
    added.

    Charities also raised concerns that the work of the Valuing People
    support team could be “diluted” by the proposed merger with the six
    other government programmes, including the Change Agent team and
    the National Institute for Mental Health in England (Nimhe).

    Learning difficulties charity Mencap wants clarity on the impact of
    the move on the Valuing People support team, and warns it could be
    “dwarfed” by Nimhe.

    Lee said that he suspected that the reasons for the merger was most
    likely a “cost-saving” exercise and he called on the government to
    ensure proper investment in Valuing People.

    But director of Valuing People Rob Greig insisted that the
    partnership should strengthen Valuing People “by giving greater
    opportunity for cross-agency support for people with learning
    difficulties”.

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