[Skip to content]

BILD - All About People
Monday 20 January 2020
View Basket View Basket

Need to know facts or figures about learning disabilities?

There are a number of places to look for facts or figures about people with learning disabilities and the issues that affect their lives.

Improving Health and Lives: Learning Disability Observatory

The best place to begin is the Improving Health and Lives: Learning Disability Observatory. IHAL focuses on the health of people with learning disabilities and the healthcare they receive. Since April 1st 2013 it has been operated by Public Health England, the Government Organisation overseeing all public health work in England.

The Observatory aims to provide better, easier to understand, information on the health and well being of people with learning disabilities.

You can find out more about their work on their website, look out for the section on 'Numbers', and the 'Links' section might be useful to you as well.

A key publication you will find there is Estimating Future Need for Social Care among Adults with Learning Disabilities in England: An Update. This is an update to a 2008 publication by Eric Emerson and Chris Hatton of estimates of the need for adult social care support among people with learning disabilities in England. The report covers the period 2009-2026.

People with Learning Disabilities in England 2015 is IHAL's fifth annual compendium of statistics about the lives of people with learning disabilities. The report covers a wide range of information about population numbers, education, health and social care. Among key statistics in this document are:

"By combining information collected by government departments on the presence of learning disabilities among people using services, overall population predictions for England and the results of epidemiological research, we estimate that in England in 2015 there were 1,087,100 people with learning disabilities, including 930,400 adults.

The number of people with learning disabilities recorded in health and welfare systems is much lower, for example GPs identified 252,446 children and adults as having learning disabilities on their practice-based registers."

You can also view health profiles which are numbers that help people who plan health services. They try to show:

•    How many people have learning disabilities
•    How healthy they are
•    How much health care they get
•    How well social services are looking out for them

They show how your area compares with others and are used by planners in health services and social services. They are also interesting for self-advocates and family carers.

IHAL is responsible for the Joint Health and Social Care Self-Assessment Framework, which has now replaced the Valuing People Now Self-Assessment and the Learning Disability Health Self-Assessment. All Local Authority areas are asked to complete the self-assessment working with their local partners including Clinical Commissioning Groups. On the website you will find a full set of documents providing instructions and guidance for local staff, and supporting tools to assist in explaining the process to self-advocates, family carers and others in your area.

IHAL is also responsible for the Autism Self-Assessment Exercise 2014-5, which assists local authorities and their partners in assessing their progress in implementing the 2010 Adult Autism


Centre for Disability Research (CeDR) at Lancaster University

The Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University is  active in research and teaching on disability and disablism.They take pride in the impact of their research and scholarship on policy making and social practices in disability arenas – regionally, nationally and internationally.

Follow the link on their home page for Resources and Publications. There are some very useful documents you an download, including People with Learning Disabilities in England, and Estimating Future Need for Adult Social Care Services for People with Learning Disabilities in England, both by Eric Emerson and Chris Hatton and commissioned in 2008 by Mencap and the Learning Disability Coalition.

Chris Hatton has a personal blog in which he often discusses  issues in learning disability data. This posting, of January 2016, is a particularly useful overview of where data about the learning disability population is being collected - go to Chris Hatton's blog >

Chris Hatton spoke to BILD Conference 2015 on 'Support for people with learning disabilities, past, present and future' - you can watch a video of his presentation on BILD's You Tube page, here >

National Development Team for inclusion (NDTi)

The National Development Team for inclusion (NDTi) is a not-for profit organisation that promotes inclusion and equality for people who are at risk of exclusion and who need support to lead a full life. 

NDTi carry out research to understand people's personal experiences, how services respond to and support them, and whether strategies and policies work at a local and individual level.

Visit their research and publications pages.


The Office for Disability Issues (ODI)

The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) leads the government’s vision of achieving equality for disabled people. They are a cross-government organisation that works with government departments, disabled people and a wide range of external groups.

They are responsible for gathering and monitoring evidence of the government’s progress towards disability equality. The areas covered reflect the experiences of disabled people.

ODI’s statistics are based on the latest official research available. They are sourced and dated, and regularly maintained.

Visit their research and statistics page.

Social Care Institute for Excellence

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) improves the lives of people who use care services by sharing knowledge about what works. They gather and analyse knowledge about what works and translate that knowledge into practical resources, learning materials and services.

They also provide the Social Care Online research resource, which they describe as ' the UK's most complete range of information and research on all aspects of social care and social work. You can search for information by making learning disabilities your 'Hot Topic' and you can further select, for example, by searching by 'statistics'.


Health and Social Care Information Centre

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) says it 'is England's central, authoritative source of health and social care information for frontline decision makers'. Their 'Social Care' section has reports on spending on adult social care in this area. Entering 'learning disabilities' into the search terms brings up a range of useful resources and publications, including the Learning Disabilities Census Report- England, 30th of September 2013.

Learning Disability Statistics, Annual Overview: England 2015-16
Annual information from various Learning Disability data collections. This publication presents a wide range of information about care delivered to users of NHS funded learning disability services in England. More >


Department for Education

The latest national statistics on Special Educational Needs produced by the Department for Education were released on 23rd October 2013 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.



You can search 'Learning Disabilities' on the statistics website for the Scottish Government, one key document is 'The Population with Learning Disabilities in Scotland - A Review of Existing Data', which you can download.

The ‘Statistics Release: Adults with learning disabilities known to Scottish local authorities 2012 (eSAY)’ is published by the SCLD on behalf of the Scottish Government and offers an invaluable insight to the lives of adults with learning disabilities in Scotland. These official statistics show that there were 26,117 adults with learning disabilities known to local authorities living in Scotland in 2012. 



The statistics website for the Welsh Government has statements on the number of people registered as learning disabled with their local Council, and the number with statements of special education needs. There is also a StatWales website where, by searching by 'learning disabilities' you can find out more by Welsh county.


Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency compiles statics for Northern Ireland. Search by 'learning disabilities'. The Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service provides data on numbers registered as learning disables with their local Council and those having statements of special education needs.

UK National Statistics 

The UK National Statistics Publications Hub holds the statistical releases of government departments across the UK; the release calender enables you to see what will be published, as well as what is already available to view. 

If you provide, or can recommend any source of data or information about people with learning disabilities, please let us know at enquiries@bild.org.uk


Top of the page

Membership web banner Vertical 170x737px


News flag image


portrait mailing list v2