Editorial Comment: Leaked report on Cornwall Council reveals challenge of improving learning disability services

A leaked report on Cornwall Council this week reveals the scale of the challenge faced with translating the vision for improving services for people with learning disabilities into frontline practice.

Eighteen months on from the long-stay hospital abuse scandal that engulfed Cornwall’s learning disability services there is still much to do.

The council is talking the talk on introducing new ways of working, opening up opportunities and promoting choice and personalisation – but the delivery strategies remain “relatively under developed”.

Problems are also highlighted with risk assessment and adult safeguarding. Inadequacies in these activities failed to prevent the brutal murder of Steven Hoskin in St Austell in 2006.

While the council has improved the quality of life of former hospital and Supported Living Services residents, it’s struggling to implement a person-centred approach.

If this council can’t make sufficient progress in the eye of the storm, then which can?

At least we now have Valuing People Now, which refreshes our approach to supporting and empowering people with learning disabilities. Currently in consultation, it will set out local priorities and actions.

We are also seeing more target-setting around people with learning disabilities. But, in truth, there is only going to be real progress when partnership boards are given the teeth to make it happen and councils have the resources to respond.

Related article

Cornwall learning disabilities services struggling to improve

Contact the author

Mike Broad

This article appeared in the 28 February issue under the headline “Lost in translation”

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