Policy and Politics Conferences summary and next steps

In February 2024, Learning Disability England hosted three conferences about Policy and Politics for Good Lives. These were held in Leeds, London and online.

Going to a Learning Disability England conference is a really unique experience. There is so much to learn, share and discover. You can read all about the impact of the conferences below.

How many people came to the conferences?

Around 300 people came to both in-person conferences. There were around 250 people at the online conference through the day.

Learning Disability England sent a survey to people who came to the conferences to see what they thought of the day. Some people filled in the survey but not everyone did. So the results are the thoughts of some people, but not everyone.

The information in the survey is known as data. The data told Learning Disability England a few things about the conferences. Most people who attended in Leeds had a learning disability or were a paid supporter. In London and online, most people were paid supporters.

Survey Responses

The data in the survey said that over 90% of people who came to the conferences felt more connected as a result. People enjoyed the inclusivity and networking opportunities of the in-person conferences, and said they felt the atmosphere was very welcoming.

People who came to the online conference liked hearing from speakers with lived experience. They also liked the networking opportunities and the sharing of ideas and information. Nearly 83% of people who filled in the survey said it was very important that the online conferences continue.

What did people say about the conferences?

Below there are some feedback quotes taken from the survey. You can read responses from across all the conferences.


That it was as it should have been – led by people who draw on support, fully inclusive.

Me and my friends liked the venue we thought it was easy to get to and we liked how modern it was I really liked the voting workshop it was interesting I liked how we did the voting at the end. I liked how we were told about what the government pays for, it was a great presentation.

It was brilliantly hosted. It put people with learning difficulties in control. It was important to hear so many strong voices.

Inspiring hope in these very difficult times.

Nice relaxed welcoming feel – no pressure – people can be who they are.” 


The great engagement and sense of everyone present taking a positive view as to how they can work together to make a better world.

Final session on voting rights was really interesting and important. I left with a new appreciation of this.” 

I was part of the My Vote My Voice campaign, so was involved in that afternoon session. The engagement from the attendees was amazing and really made the most of the workshop. Loved how enthusiastic and eager everybody was to be heard and participate.” 

The inclusivity and seeing people with learning disability being empowered.

A great selection of workshops. It would have been great to have been able to go to all of them. I had the pleasure of attending two workshops with excellent speakers and a fully inclusive environment.


The presentations were excellent and on varied subjects. There were lots of useful links and information shared.

A really positive dialogue, open sharing of ideas, information and very importantly people with learning disabilities themselves showing their ambitions and their talents as change agents and partners in policy making! “

The open and frank sharing of facts and information. It felt like some difficult and emotional subjects were covered but they are important issues that need to be out in the open. The opportunities to network and find potential research partners and collaborators.

The fact that PMLD got a proper mention! So rarely happens.” 

The space for people with lived experience to speak. That’s what’s most powerful.

The co-production – it was brilliant to hear the voices of so many people with lived experience.

It was really good to see individuals with a learning disability taking part in the conference supporting empowerment and inclusion.


The overall conference rating for all conferences was over 4 out of 5 stars (1 star = not good at all and 5 stars = very good). For the face-to-face conferences no one gave a score below 3 stars

What could be done to make the conferences better?

Some people said that there could be some more time given to people talking to each other at the online conference, and that break out room sessions could have been longer.

Feedback for the in-person conferences said that the venues might be better on one floor, that there needed to be more air conditioning, and that there needed to be more space for lunch.

The Learning Disability England team is using all your feedback to plan for the 2025 conferences. Hope to see you there!

Blogs and Links

Some people who came to the conferences have written blogs about what they thought. You can read some of those below.

‘What would you do if you were PM for the day?’ by Certitude London: Click here.

‘Listen, Include, Respect’ by Joe Robbie from Down’s Syndrome Association: Click here.

‘Listen, Include, Respect’ by Catherine from Down’s Syndrome Association: Click here.

‘Stronger, Louder, Together!’ by Jo Giles from the Victoria and Stuart Project: Click here.

Online conference blog by Sammy4Change on Instagram: Click here.

London conference highlights video by Lizzie Williams from Aldingbourne Trust: Click here.