However there are a number of the areas identified in the recommendations where sufficient progress has not been made.
Now is the time to start planning for the future.
What is the story: For some areas of the strategy such as provision of alternatives to day centres, development of employment opportunities, planning for those living with older carers, transition support on leaving school. There are others where it is hard to know what is happening as the statistics collected are unreliable in that there is little common agreement on definition.
The monitoring of the implementation of ‘The Same as You?’ – through the statistics return, the Partnership in Practice agreements (PIPs) and the Implementation Group- forms a base, but we would like to see this developed further. It is vital that the quality of the information collated is evaluated and as good as it can be.
What could be done: We would suggest to government ministers that they draw up “The Same As You Now” that focus for the remaining years on priority areas, the further development of user involvement and an annual statement by the minister. The priority areas would be;
> Local area co ordination
> Direct Payments and other individualised purchasing arrangements
> Personal life plans and other individual action plans
> The needs of people living at home with older carers
> Supporting people to develop friends and relationships
> Proper jobs
A New Strategy: In addition over the next few years we can plan how a future strategy should be drawn up. It should involve all parts of the learning disability community in a common endeavour to shape the future of services for people with learning disabilities in Scotland, strengthening partnerships and acknowledging shared values.
To do this would involve amongst others:
> Workshops on what people lives are like and how they have changed thanks to “Same As You”
> Collecting and sharing individual stories on having a learning disability in Scotland.
> Identifying what services are currently being provided to people with learning disabilities in Scotland.
> A mapping exercise on how services have been reshaped in Scotland over the last 10 years.
> Developing the use of person centred plans as a collective planning tool.
> Considering what would be an effective way of ensuring that future recommendations are implemented.
Afternote: The Scottish Government have now said they will commission a major piece of research for early 2010 to look at how The same as you? has improved the quality of life for people with learning disabilities and their families. This will be an opportunity to further the debate.