Two informative NHS webinars: Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships / Integrated Care Systems and the Voluntary Sector and Social Prescribing. Read more “Two NHS England Webinars”
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.
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.
What are we doing?
On Wednesday 16th May and Friday 18th May, the #SolveSleepIns Alliance will be conducting two ‘Days of Action’ which involves meeting and speaking with as many MPs as possible.
Wednesday 16th May- Houses of Parliament, Westminster
If you want to be involved in this please contact us
Friday 18th May- Your Local MPs Constituency Office
We need as many people as possible to be involved in this!
Why are we doing this?
In order to raise attention to the issue of back-pay and social care, we need to speak directly with MPs who can help change things. This includes backbench (non-government/shadow cabinet) MPs, government ministers and those on relevant select committees.
The Solve Sleep-ins Alliance thinks that care workers and PAs should receive all back-pay that they are entitled to. The Government commissions and funds care services, through local authorities. For the past six years, the Government has underfunded sleep-in shifts by not providing local authorities with the money to pass onto providers, personal budget holders and care givers equivalent to the National Living Wage. It is thought that this underfunding for organisations that provide care and support to people with learning disabilities could be as much as £400 million.
The Solve Sleep-ins Alliance believes that central Government should pay the bill facing social care providers and personal budget holders because they are ones that have caused the problem. We are calling for the Government to set up a fund which pays workers their back-pay directly.
Social care providers and personal budget holders rely on funding from local authorities to be able to pay care workers and PAs correctly. At the moment, most local authorities are still not paying providers the extra amount of money needed to cover the costs of paying the National Living Wage now or in the future. We need Government to properly fund social care now and into the future.
Who can get involved?
Service users, workers, families and other sector representatives are all encouraged to attend. If you are reading this, then you can join!
How can I participate?
Email your local MP asking to set up a meeting on our day of action (Friday 18 May).
We have documents to help! They are:
Please contact your MP now – asking them to solve sleep-ins!
Taking advocacy back to basics
This paper on advocacy for or led by people with learning disabilities is the first time we are sharing our thinking & questions around an issue. We are
writing about this because we want to be part of a debate about what could or should happen next in helping people live their lives as full citizens with
choice & control over what happens to them individually.
Keeping out of trouble:
Alternatives to prison or hospital for people with learning disabilities who get into trouble with the law
This is a discussion paper from the Ideas Collective. The aim is to stimulate more thinking and ideas about how to:
- stop people with learning disabilities engaging in risky or offending behaviour that gets them into trouble with the law
- increase the availability of alternatives to prison or hospital
- help people resettle successfully following detention.