In a crucial legal case that has very important consequences for us in Scotland, Birmingham City Council has been forced to postpone withdrawing services from 4,000 people. While we may have to wait for the appeal to go through, it does through a very large question mark over local authorities decisions to reduce services to vulnerable adult sas equality laws do cover all of the UK..
While this particular decision is related to the tightening of eligibility criteria it is likely to apply to all attempts to reduce services. The decision turns on particular aspects of the Disability Discrimination Act which says that council need to have “due regard” to the needs of vulnerable people. This means that they have to demonstrate they have consulted over the proposals, considered the impact of the proposals and to have looked at the option of “positive discrimination” in favour of vulnerable people protecting them from the cuts.
This means that local authority will have to be able to demonstrate a clear audit trail of how their decisions were arrived at and what they considered in the process.
As the date for the announcement of the first round of Individual Service Budgets comes closer, more and more people in Glasgow are speaking out about their concerns. In response to this the Herald ran an article on Tuesday 12th April about the latest developments. Read the article - look at the accompanying photograph.
Meanwhile here are a number of quotes from families who are concerned about what "personalisation" might hold for them and the people they care about.
· “I’m gutted – this council has put choice and control back years”
· “THIS IS NOT PERSONALISATION – They’ve taken the person right out of it!”·
On Wednesday, 23rd March a large group of people with learning disabilties came together to talk about their concerns over personalisaition in Glasgow. For many saving money seemed to be the main issues in Personalisation and some people there were facing cuts of more than 50% in their support packages. Most wanted to wait and see what would happen after tehe Outcome Support Plans were submitted when the council might make some changes. However there were real concerns about how the assessments of their needs had taken place and were they legal. LDAS agreed to find out more about this.
CLick Read More to find out our take on the legal position on assessment.
The latest council to announce plans to move to personalisation plans for peopel with learning disabilities is North Ayrshire Council. Interestingly, or perhaps worryingly, it was included amongst the efficiency savings that are planned for 2012-13. It looks like there will be an attempt to generate savings of at least 10% in the process, probably higher if some services are excluded from the process.
North Ayrshire's decision making was help by an independent high level review of Social Services undertaken by Ms Glenys Johnston, an independent consultant to SOLACE and by discussion with the Council's strategic partner, Impower, which has substantial experience of working with English authorities.
No further details are yet available on this. Visit out Cuts Watch Map to see the full details of what is happening in North Ayrshire.
In Control is one way to deliver personalised services. It has received a lot of attention as it has been developing with a number of pilot project in local authorities across Scotland. The pilots have been accompanied by significant research and evaluation with a number of shared tools available for use. In Scotland, North Lanarkshire Council has worked most closely with In Control.
You can find out more about In Control in Scotland on their website by clicking on this link
The In Control Scotland organiser Keith Etherington came to our AGM and gave us a helpful presentation on the 7 key steps in the In Control model. You can see this by clicking here.
Self Directed Support
We believe that Self Directed Support can give people with learning disabilities far more control over their own lives. All partners in this process should work in a collaborative, open and transparent way that leads to genuine co-production and involvement
We think that social care service like health services should be provided free of charge to the most vulnerable. Care charges are really a care tax.
Many people with learning disabilities still suffer from low level bullying and harassment. This is unacceptable and needs to stop.
A number of major changes are planned in Britain's benefit system. We are campaigning to make sure people with learning disabilities are protected in these changes.