What’s NEW

What’s NEW

Here’s all the latest updates and news from Learning Disability England.

Court of appeal judgement on staff pay for sleep ins

The Court of Appeal has made a ruling on Sleep in payments.

The court found in favour of Mencap so this means that national minimum wage does not apply when a support worker is sleeping.
Learning Disability England has been part of the #SolveSleepIns Alliance to try and find a solution to this problem.

Here is the statement from the alliance. For providers of support and personal budget holders who directly employ support workers, this decision provides some relief for those who would have struggled to pay 6 years of back pay. However it does not solve the main problem that social care is grossly underfunded and those who we expect to perform some of the most important work in our society are living on wages that often do not reflect the important job they do.

We think that not only should support staff be paid the National Minimum Wage to sleep in but that greater investment by the government into social care should mean better rates of pay and conditions more generally.

We support the #SolveSleepIns Alliance call for the government to legislate that National Minimum Wage should be paid for sleep ins and that the government commit to funding this properly. At the moment many Personal Budget Holders are not paid equally to service providers and therefore have a disadvantage in some parts of the country in attracting the right support workers and this too needs to be resolved.

Claire Crossley, LDE family representative and personal budget holder says ‘the lack of value and pay for essential care that is the difference between being alive and actually LIVING. We need a national standard procedure that all local authority’s agree to follow so that we have better processes and rates of pay including pensions which is imperative for personal budget holders to operate within the law’

To download the solve sleep in Alliance press release click here

To download the judgement please click here

To download SolveSleepIns-Briefing on the sleep-in crisis please click here

We’re recruiting for a Family Engagement worker

Location: Home based in the North East of England with extensive travel required
Hours: Full time: 37.5 hours per week (Job share or 2 part-time roles considered)
Duration: For an initial period of 2 years
Salary: £25,000 PA

Are you
• Passionate about the rights of people with learning disabilities?
• Up for a challenge?
Do you
• Have an interest in housing and policy?
• Like speaking to people, and helping to make things happen?

Learning Disability England and the JMS Trust are working together to form a new and exciting role. We both want to reach the family carers of people with learning disabilities:
• JMS want to tell them about the opportunity for groups of family carers to apply to them for funding to set up supported living for their loved ones,
• LDE want to ensure the voice of family carers is represented in the media and at the policy table. Many of the conversations we have with family members are about housing rights too.
In this role, you could be speaking at a conference one day, working with family carers to help them develop supported living the next, and finding carers to speak to the media, whilst preparing for a policy meeting on another day. The role and skills required will be varied!
We know this is a big ask, and it is likely that the ideal candidate will develop into the role.
However, we are looking for someone who is passionate yet logical, a great communicator with a strong command of written English, comfortable with social media, and has an understanding of the issues faced by people who are the family carers of people with learning disabilities.
In return, we can offer regular and supportive supervision, flexibility around hours, the chance to work for young and ambitious charities, and a role which will look great on your future CV!
We are open to ideas and whilst we are presenting this as one full time post, believing there is great potential for synergy, we would welcome suggestions around job share and varying hours. So, if you have the skills and drive, but are looking for fewer hours, we would like to hear from you too!
For an informal chat about this role, please contact Tracy Hammond on 02036 171 842

To apply please download the information pack and the application form

Closing date: 8 am on 9th July 2018
Interviews: 24th July 2018 in central Huddersfield (we will pay travel expenses for invited applicants)


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?

The purpose of this webinar is to share ideas and discuss the importance of self-advocacy. We will focus on how people with learning disabilities are supported to get their voices heard, feel respected and get the best outcomes. We will give an overview of the tools and opportunities we have adopted and how self-advocacy training has empowered people with a learning disability to speak up for themselves. This webinar will be co-led by SPICE Self-Advocates Daniel and Maz who will share their stories and inspire others.

This webinar will be useful to self advocates, service providers, commissioners, parents, carers and anyone else who is committed to supporting self-advocacy.



Presented by:

Daniel Docherty is a self-advocate and founding member of SPICE. He has over 25 years’ experience of setting up self-advocacy groups including Manchester People First. He delivers training to professionals, social work students, and to other people with learning disabilities. He works hard to advocate for people with learning disabilities to have the same rights as everyone else.

Maz Tweedy is a self-advocate and member of SPICE. She uses her personal experiences and first-hand knowledge to make a positive difference and inspire change. She provides training, is part of a quality checking group and sits on several learning disability groups throughout Greater Manchester.

Kim Barrett is the Personalisation Lead at Future Directions CIC. She works closely with individuals, families and support teams to enable people to reach their dreams, wishes and aspirations.  She drives all aspects of the personalisation agenda forward and delivers self-advocacy training.

Jenny Neville is a Project Manager who works closely with SPICE which is a self-advocacy group made up of people supported by Future Directions CIC.  She supports SPICE to develop their skills and confidence. She empowers them to campaign for greater rights, choice and control and to have a voice, challenge stereotypes and make a positive difference to the lives of all people with learning disabilities.

The LGA and ADASS are asking for the views of people who with learning disabilities and their families.

The Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) are writing some guidance and want to hear from people with a learning disability, autism or both and family carers.

This is part of the Transforming Care work.

The guidance is to help make sure that people with a learning disability, autism or both who display behaviour that challenges get good quality care and support in the community.

They want the guidance to:

• Help commissioners and providers work together as partners.

• Help commissioners to make sure they are working with providers that have the right values and skills.

• Help commissioners to make sure good providers are available to people in their local area so that people don’t have to live a long way from family and friends.

• Help commissioners to know what good services and good quality care and support providers look like.

Here is the information with some questions for you to answer.

Questions_feedback on toolkit

SeeAbility has supported over 1,200 special school children across England

SeeAbility has supported over 1,200 special school children across England, providing adjusted eye tests and collecting data. It’s the biggest global study actively reporting on the eye care needs of children with learning disabilities.

Of the children using the SeeAbility service over a four academic year period we have found, with the help of Dr Maggie Woodhouse’s support in analysing our data that:

  • Nearly half (47.5%) had a problem with their vision.
  • A third (31.7%) needed glasses.
  • Over four in ten (43.7%) had no history of any eye care.
  • Only 7% had ever used a community optician.

Of those children with a sight problem more than a quarter (28%) had a problem that was previously unknown to school or their parents

We are calling on NHS England to make wide reforms to community eye care for children and adults with learning disabilities and introduce adjusted eye tests in special schools.

We’re using the hashtag #EqualRightToSight on our social media platforms.

Click here for more information about our report

We have a ‘top tips’ bit on the website too to help direct people on getting better eye care information eg. easy read. Especially as parents may struggle to know where to go and get their child’s sight tested, and we also happy to write little pieces of advice for newsletters etc.

Also if anyone, individuals, organisations, wants to sign up to pledge your support on eye care reforms so we can keep ensuring NHS England know there remains real concern over lack of their action on this issue they can also do this on this link too.


Two NHS England Webinars

Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships / Integrated Care Systems and the Voluntary Sector 

An NHS England webinar
7th June 2018  10:30 – 11:30

The webinar will explain the current state of play of sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems. It will look at how NHS England has been working with the Health and Wellbeing Alliance and other organisations to support VCSE engagement in system change.

To register your interest in this webinar and receive log in details, please e-mail england.voluntarypartnerships@nhs.net with STP webinar in the subject header.

Social Prescribing 

An NHS England webinar
11th July 10am – 11am

This is your opportunity to hear more from the NHS England team who work on Social Prescribing, the developments in the programme over the recent year and hear about the aspirations for the future. There will also be the opportunity to hear from a VCSE partner on the way that they are involved in social prescribing and some of the benefits that have been seen by patients.

Register your interest and access details to log on by e-mailing england.voluntarypartnerships@nhs.net with ‘social prescribing webinar’ in the subject header.

This webinar is brought to you through the Health and Wellbeing Alliance programme – find out more here https://www.england.nhs.uk/hwalliance/


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.