LDE webinar: “It’s MY Life” – Self-Advocacy for people with Learning Disabilities 

10.00 – 11.00, 22nd June 2018

We all know that people with learning disabilities should be more involved in planning the services they use; they should have the right to speak up for themselves and be involved in making decisions that affect them. But how do we ensure that their voices are heard? Read more  “LDE webinar: “It’s MY Life” – Self-Advocacy for people with Learning Disabilities “

A Statement following the inquest into Danny’s death

People with learning disabilities and their families are sadly all too used to dealing with substandard support, a lack of choice, and professionals who refuse to listen to us. Neglect, arrogance and indifference are common themes in the recent inquests into the preventable deaths of Connor Sparrowhawk, Oliver McGowan and Danny Tozer. And this is shameful.

However, in Danny Tozer’s case, the account of his care that has emerged at his inquest is all the more shocking because it took place at one of Royal Mencap’s supported living facilities. The biggest and most powerful UK charity for people with learning disabilities, not only failed to protect Danny, it failed to provide him with the support and the life he deserved. What is worse, is that Royal Mencap’s approach at the inquest has been to blame Danny’s bereaved parents and to focus on his behaviour rather than failings in his support and care.

This inquest has highlighted the conflict of interest that Royal Mencap has in being a major provider of services whilst at the same time claiming to be an organisation that campaigns and lobbies on behalf of people with learning disabilities and their families. It should choose which it wishes to be.

There have been many unexpected deaths, serious injuries, and allegations of abuse in recent years , across many different services. The figures suggest that there is a wider problem within the sector and that support providers need to urgently review their safeguards and their culture. We need a new openness and willingness to share and learn from uncomfortable truths. The aim of preventing further deaths and injury must overcome any reticence in sharing the whole truth.

Enough is enough

By Tracy Hammond

LDE has commented before about the death of Danny Tozer and sadly, we’re not convinced that across the sector, services are any safer, or care standards any better since this tragic event.

Once again, we are writing about how people should be safe and free from abuse in services, when we should be aspiring to so much more for people.

We cannot imagine how painful it must be for those who loved Danny to sit through an inquest into his death.  We hope they get the answers they are due.

The independent report into Danny’s death created a poor picture of the care he received from Mencap and certainly highlighted problems within the home.

We hear time and again how family members are treated when they try to raise concerns or get to the bottom of what has happened to their loved ones.  This adversarial approach must stop, organisations take a mature approach to working with families, co-production means sharing, organisations that take a confrontational or defensive approach are implicit in creating cultures where poor practice can flourish.

We all need to work together to prevent tragic events and support people to have great lives.

We absolutely believe that people should be held to account when things go wrong, but this is not enough; we need to stop tragedies in the first place.  We need to learn from the past, acknowledge how things should have been better and make sector-wide changes, but also cling onto past good practice and build upon, rather than erode this.

We are seeing a rise in the number of larger residential settings and it is difficult to see how these can afford the true person-centred approach that is so important to ensure people good and safe lives.  A true person-centred approach is not about using the correct form or planning tool; it is about knowing that person and honouring them during every moment of support.