The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland campaigns to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities within Scotland. We prioritise a range of issues that can make a difference.
Hundreds of people with learning disabilities across Scotland may not be getting the support they need as councils tighten up eligibility criteria and cut council services.
For the second year running the number of people with learning disabilities known to local councils in Scotland has fallen.
Statistics collected by the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability ESAY project show that over the last year 4.6% less people with learning disabilities are known to councils. 14 councils out of 32 have reported a reduction in numbers. This follows on from a smaller fall the previous year when 9 councils reported reductions.
All Scotland figures
The councils having the biggest reductions were
Edinburgh City-311 .
Glasgow city council admits that their personalisation process has contributed to the reduction in their numbers. Other local councils have confirmed to SCLD that closure of cases has been a major factor in the reductions.
This trend is counter to much of the planning statistics used by local councils to justify programmes of cuts in services.
In Glasgow the personalisation was justified in September 2010 as necessary because of “the projected reduction in social care budgets of 12% over the next 3 years and the accompanying increase in demand, in for example, learning disability services.” (Health & Social Care Committee, 22/9/10)
This reduction is not unique to Scotland. MENCAP, the English charity for people with learning disabilities found in a recent study “Stuck At Home” that 28% of English councils had seen a similar process of reduction of adults known to local authorities.
“The tightening of eligibility criteria by many local authorities has also led to lots of people with a learning disability losing all their services, including day services…. 28% of local authorities cited a decrease in the number of adults with a learning disability known to social services in 2011/12 compared to 2009/10. This trend is contrary to a steady increase in the number of people with a learning disability in society in general, which suggests that local authorities could be failing to recognise learning disability and are therefore not providing services to people who need them.”
Similar reasons apply here to, with the number of case closures coupled with the increasing difficulty to get accepted as eligible for social care services leading to this fall in numbers.
We know there are no less people with learning disabilities in Scotland than a year ago. These statistics tell us that less people are getting the help they need from councils.
This is the consequence of the first stages of public sector spending cuts. For years we have been told that there was going to be a big increase in the numbers of people with learning disabilities and that resources had to be shared out better. It turns out that less people are getting services and support all over the country. The Scottish Government needs to get a grip of this situation before we see the door closing on yet more vulnerable people.
The same as you? () (Scottish Executive, 2000) was launched by the Scottish Executive in May 2000 and reviewed the services then available to people with learning disabilities and people on the autism spectrum. It said that people with learning disabilities had the right to be included in, and contribute to, society, to have a voice, and to have access, with their families, to support to live the life of their choosing. It contained 29 recommendations intended to drive a change programme to improve services.
The Scottish Government has now written an evaluation and consultation report. You can download the report and other documentation from here. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/05/6945/0
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland welcomes the news that Ranaich House in Dunblane is to be deregistered by the Care Inspectorate.
Ranaich House near Dunblane is owned by Castlebeck Care (Teasdale) Ltd, the firm which featured in a BBC Panorama programme that highlighted residents in another of their properties being physically abused by staff.
Health Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has told Jackie Baillie MSP, her shadow opposite number in a written Parliamentary answer that the Care Inspectorate have now told Castelbeck Care they will be seeking to deregister Ranaich House because of on-going concerns about the quality of care being provided there.
The vulnerable adults with learning disabilities resident in Ranaich rely on statutory bodies like the Care Inspectorate to monitor and supervise the quality of care that they receive.
Over the last two and a half years the Care Inspectorate have been reporting that this residential unit has been applying arbitrary and unreasonable restraints on the people that use its services. It has continually over this extended period asked the management at the Care Home to improve its performance.
One example from the latest report shows what this means in practice. A service user was refused permission to go to his room at 2.30 pm in the afternoon. The rationale given for this was 'because it was session time', in other words a training session of sorts. The service user became agitated however he did not resort to physical violence. He was however restrained due to his attempt to leave the room. The 'attack alarm' was then used and three more staff attended to help with the restraint. Afterward it was documented he agreed that he 'must attend session'.
Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mike Russell has promised to make sure more attention is paid to people with learning disabilities in colleges in Scotland and to make sure they don't lose out in education opportunities.
MSPs Jim Eadie, Joan McAlpine and Jackie Baillie had arranged the meeting following a report by Enable Scotland and SCLD identifying that it was getting harder for people with learning disabilities. Places at FE colleges for people with learning disabilities had fallen by a third in the last year alone. LDAS has been looking at this issue for the last couple of years and identified part of the problem being linked to the way funding is provided at colleges.
Another part of the problem is that none of the Scottish colleges monitor how many people with learning disabilities have a college place. There are quite good disability statistics including measuring people with dislexia but for some reason there is no tracking for how many people with learning disabilities use college places.
The proposal is that when new regional Shadow Boards are set up later this year to oversee further education they will be asked to monitor a number of outcomes that will support people with additional support needs to take part in colleges and to take up work opportuniites linked to college courses. The actual design of the outcomes will be a collaborative process with the Cross Party Group on Learning Disability over the next few months.
This will help make sure that people are able to get into college.
There will still remain a financial disincentive to getting people with learning disabilities into college but at least we are on the start of a process.