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Tuesday 21 January 2020
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Useful resources

National Forum logo
National Forum for people with Learning Disabilities

The National Forum is a democratically elected body representing people with learning difficulties in England. The National Forum has the job of telling the Government how it is working for people with learning difficulties. 

Each of the 9 regions across England elect 2 members to the National Forum plus there are 2 Co-chairs making a total of 20 members. The National Forum meets 4 times per year. Each of the 9 Regional Forums meet between 2 and 4 times per year. They are funded by the Department of Health.

Find out more on the National Forum website.

Report: People with learning disabilities in 2015

The latest edition of People with Learning Disabilities in England (2015) is out now. This report is a 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.  

Download the report >

Resources by Jim Blair

Jim Blair, Learning Disability Nurse Consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital and BILD Health Advisor, has made available the following resources/articles:

The health needs of people with learning disabilities: issues and solutions

To know or not to know: Being alert – Why it helps to know in advance if your next patient has a learning disability

Changing culture, shaping care: getting care right for people with learning disabilities          

NICE guideline on mental health problems in people with learning disability

The final guideline on Mental health problems in people with learning disability has been published on the NICE website.

This guideline covers preventing, assessing and managing mental health problems in people with learning disabilities in all settings (including health, social care, education, and forensic and criminal justice). 

It aims to improve assessment and support for mental health conditions, and help people with learning disabilities and their families and carers to be involved in their care.

Download the NICE guideline >

Learning Disability Statistics Scotland (2015)

The Learning Disability Statistics Scotland 2015 report is now published. This is the report of statistics about adults with learning disabilities who Scottish local authorities knew about in 2015.  

Download the report >

Learning Disabilities Core Skills Education and Training Framework launched

Skills for Health, Health Education England and Skills for Care have launched a comprehensive new resource to support health and social care staff and educators in England who work with people with a learning disability.

The Learning Disabilities Core Skills Education and Training Framework sets out the essential skills and knowledge necessary for all staff involved in learning disability care and will enable organisations to:

  • Identify key skills and knowledge for roles and team
  • Plan and design content for education and training
  • Commission education and training
  • Conduct training needs analysis
  • Support performance management processes and the assessment of competence


Download the framework >

Find out more information. 

Supporting Parents with Learning Disabilities in Scotland

This new report puts the spotlight on the services that are available for people with learning disabilities who become parents.

Dr Ailsa Stewart and Dr Gillian MacIntyre from the University of Strathclyde were commissioned by the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD), on behalf of the Scottish Government, to carry out a scoping exercise to discover what kind of support is made available to these parents, and whether the services meet their needs. The report reveals that there may be 5,000 or more parents with learning disabilities living in Scotland.  More >

Between 40% and 60% of parents with learning disabilities have their children removed as a result of being assessed as not meeting a satisfactory standard of parenting. Their children are removed into care, are adopted or fostered, sometimes by a relative.  Download the report >

Learning Disability Statistics, Annual Overview: England 2015 to 2016

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.

Key Facts

  • Between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016 there were:
  • 2,650 patients receiving inpatient care at the end of February 2016 compared to 2,820 at the end of February 2015
  • 1,800 admissions/transfers to inpatient care
  • 1,970 discharges/transfers from inpatient care;
  • 895 people have been receiving continuous inpatient care for over 5 years  More >

People with learning disabilities ten times more likely to have serious sight problems

People with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to have serious sight problems than other people.

Six out of ten will need glasses and will often need support to get used to wearing them.

The “Opening Eyes Peer Educator Network” has been developed by SeeAbility and Opening Doors to train people with learning disabilities on how to look after their eyes.

Find out more on the See Ability website.

"People with learning disabilities are still not recognised as fully human"

"My son, Connor Sparrowhawk’s death in a Winterbourne View-type unit was preventable. We don’t need a commissioner to enforce pledges on better treatment. Just treat everyone as a human being.

Stephen Bubb's report on the Winterbourne View scandal is his third in the last 18 months Winterbourne View – Time for change, Time is Running Out and The Challenge Ahead. He states at one point; “I am acutely aware we do not just want more reports”. No. We don’t need any more reports. But he isn’t the problem. It’s the continuing lack of recognition of learning disabled people as fully human.

Read the article by Sara Ryan > 

The eLeSI Training: paving the way towards social inclusion

The eLeSI training is provided online and is open to everyone. The training gives information to people with disabilities and their families about inclusion in society and explains what obstacles are faced. The training is based on the principles of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities  (2006).

The training facilitates the acquisition of knowledge regarding the origin and possible consequences of disabilities and/or disorders, it helps people to learn about the factors which may support, or conversely impede, social inclusion. 

Find out more information.

National campaign promotes the role for leadership in learning disability services

Daniel, the Trust’s Practice Development Nurse for People with Learning Disabilities, shares his experience and values in a video show-casing inspirational leaders for HEE, aimed at encouraging leadership in the learning disability workforce.

Watch it here >

Discuss issues affecting the lives of people with learning disabilities in the Choice Forum

Since 2000, the Choice Forum has been been the place to discuss issues affecting the lives of people with learning disabilities in the UK. Everyone who wants people with learning disabilities to have a better life is very welcome.

Members include people with learning disabilities, parents, friends, relatives, people working in the field, national and local policy makers, service providers and commissioners.  

Find out more on the Choice Forum website.

Who is Challenging Who(m)? Using research evidence on the perspectives of people with intellectual disabilities and carers

In a recent post on his blog, Richard Hastings writes "Having heard a number of individual stories from people with intellectual disabilities whose behaviour had been labelled as challenging, and carried out our systematic research, it was clear that a piece missing from training for social care and other support staff and professionals was explicitly the perspective of people with intellectual disabilities.

Working with people with intellectual disabilities, we designed and carried out a pilot test of a half day training course for support staff using the findings from the review research and also some of the personal perspectives of the co-trainers with intellectual disabilities."  

Read the blog.

Presentations from Public Health England's Learning Disabilities Conference 2016 

The Public Health England Learning Disabilities Conference 2016: Using primary care data to plan better services for people with learning disabilities launched the first round of a new set of national and local information about the health and care of people with learning disabilities. 

The new data was taken from general practice information systems nationally, which were obtained by a collaboration between Public Health England, NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre. The conference included keynote presentations and break-out sessions.

View the presentations > 

New performance resource to improve learning disability services in Scotland

The Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability (SCLD) has launched a new performance improvement resource for service providers.

Progress in Personalisation is a self-assessment framework that helps provider organisations measure the progress they are making towards delivering personalised support.

In the move towards self-directed support, this tool will not only help providers understand their current effectiveness, but also develop an action plan to help them improve. 

Download SCLD's Self-Assessment 

Resource to support conversations about dementia 

University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has officially launched a new resource called 'Jenny's Diary to help people with a learning disability understand their diagnosis of dementia. It has been developed in collaboration with Hansel and is funded by Alzheimer’s Society. This is a free resource and can be downloaded.  

Download Jenny's Diary 

CQC looking towards a positive future for social care for people with learning disabilities - State of Care report

Many learning disability services are maintaining or improving quality, according to regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and it is hoped that this continued. The CQC launched its annual State of Care report, which provides an overview of health and adult social care in England. It showed that, despite increasingly challenging circumstances, many services had managed to either improve or maintain quality in the past 12 months. 

Find out more information.

Clear and Easy: Handbook and DVD for making written information easy to read and understand 

People with a learning disability need to know how to get the services and information they need in a format they can understand. Providing accessible information is a legal requirement, and Clear and Easy will help guide you through the process.

Clear and Easy will benefit you if you are from a local People First group, a large disabled people’s organisation, a social services department, the public sector, or private service provider. 

Find out more information

Building on our plans for people with a learning disability

In her first blog as the new Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for Learning Disability, NHS England’s Director of Transformation, Dr Julie Higgins, discusses the progress made over the last year and her expectations and priorities for the year ahead.

"My job over the next year will be to help translate all of the energy, enthusiasm, ideas and plans into real and lasting improvement for people with a learning disability. There is a lot of work left to do, and this programme remains one of NHS England’s highest priorities", said Julie.  

Finds out more information.

Building our Power

Building our Power is a training pack to support people with learning difficulties to participate on governing bodies. 

Find out more on the Building our Power Website

12 common misconceptions about Down syndrome

Hayley Goleniowska, mother and Down’s Syndrome blogger, has written an article entitled '12 common misconceptions about Down's Syndrome'. Many are stereotypes which Hayley has challenged as her daughter, Natty, has grown up: "Before Natty was born, I too was ignorant about Trisomy 21, and many of the comments that people have made to us since her arrival have portrayed their lack of understanding too."  

Find out more

Learning Disability Census and Mazars report show how far we are from equality for people with learning disabilities

"What needs to be emphasised is that everyone – whether they are old, young, have learning disabilities or not – should have the same human rights and same rights to treatment. And, if they die unexpectedly, their family should expect the same level of investigation to find out the reason(s) why. Until this is ingrained in the culture of all health and social care services, people with learning disabilities will continue to experience inequalities and discrimination", writes Learning Disability Today.

Find out more 

IHaL Factsheet: Service Responses to Epilepsy

IHaL have published a factsheet looking at service responses to people with learning disabilities and epilepsy. The factsheet includes both easy read information and a briefing that outlines evidence on service responses to people with learning disabilities who have epilepsy. This is based on a systematic review of research published since 1990.  

Find out more

Data tool kit
Community Data Toolkit

The toolkit has been designed to help smaller organisations find, understand and use data to help develop or improve their services. The Community Data Toolkit covers basic information about conducting research and using data to help develop or improve their services.

Download the toolkit.

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People First Scotland

People First (Scotland) started in 1989. It is the independent self-advocacy and collective advocacy organisation of people with learning difficulties in Scotland. We are run by and for people with learning difficulties.

Find out more on their website.

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All Wales People First

All Wales People First is the united voice of self-advocacy groups
and all people with learning disabilities in Wales.

Find out more on their website.

Bereavement and Loss Learning Resource Pack

This pack is a long awaited resource around the taboo subjects of death and grief, in relation to people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their parents and carers. The pack also includes a DVD of two 20 minute films of conversations with parents and carers which is a great training tool. These brief films help us to understand the experience of bereavement for people with profound learning disabilities and those caring for them. 

Find out more

LD film

Films for patients with learning disabilities

Two films aimed at patients with learning disabilities have been published on the University College London Hospitals Youtube channel. The films explain what a patient can expect if they present to the Emergency Department or are admitted to the Acute Medical Unit.

Clinical nurse specialist Tim Buck said, “There’s a growing awareness throughout the NHS that people with learning disabilities face health inequalities, in terms of accessing appropriate treatments. This can be made worse by poor communication and misunderstandings.”  More >

People with Learning Disabilities in England 2015

The Improving Health and Lives Public Health Observatory annual report on People with Learning Disabilities in England 2015 which summarises information collected by several government departments about people with learning disabilities.

It includes estimates of how many people with learning disabilities there are in England and information about the health of people with learning disabilities, the education of children with learning disabilities and health and social care services used by people with learning disabilities.

Download it from the IHAL website

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A website that is full of information, news, campaigns and activities, as well as details of Mencap's many services to support people with learning disabilities, their family carers and supporters.

Find out more on the Mencap website.

Learning Disability Managed Knowledge Network

This website, produced by NHS Education in Scotland, provides information, resources and education for health and social care staff  supporting children and adults with Learning Disabilities in Scotland.

Find out more on their website.

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Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities

As well as campaigning for the rights of people with learning disabilities, the Foundation offers a wide range of services, including research, consultancy and training.

Find out more on their website.

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Better Info, Better Lives

This website provided by the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability, provides accessible social care information for people with learning disabilities. It contains information on services and support and topics include employment, housing, and transitions. The design of the website is clear and accessible and available in a variety of formats including easy read, plain English, audio and video.

Find out more on this website

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Learning Disability History website

This is the website of the Open University's social history of learning disability research group. They run conferences, produce life stories and write books and papers.

Find out more at their website.

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The Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disabilities

The Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability at Normansfield contributes to the public understanding of the work of Dr John Langdon Down, Normansfield and the Royal Earlswood Asylum though exhibitions and events.

The museum seeks to contribute to the public understanding of people with learning disabilities through events and educational activities. The museum will celebrate the achievements of people with learning disabilities and display the artifacts of James Henry Pullen.

Find out more on the museum's website.

Internet safety advice from Safer Net

Safer Net is owned and managed by the charity Respond and gives advice on staying safe online for people with learning disabilities, and those who support them.

The site also aims to raise awareness of online abuse, the different ways that this can happen, and what to do if it happens to you or to someone you know.

Visit the website

Access to justice for the learning disabled

The conclusions of a short research study into the difficulties facing individuals with learning disabilities when they need to access legal services has been published by the University of Bristol.

The report, What happens when people with learning disabilities need advice about the law?, considered the barriers preventing people with learning disabilities, or their families and carers, from accessing legal services when they needed them.

The study considered key areas where individuals with learning disabilities needed access to legal services including domestic abuse, bullying and hate crime, discrimination and offending.

Read the full report

New Australian disability journal launched

Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (RAPIDD), is a new peer-reviewed journal that will inform the design and delivery of support that is critical for people with intellectual disability and their families, to participate in community life and be included by mainstream service systems. 

Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities journal

The Keys to Life: A new learning disability strategy for Scotland

The new learning disability strategy builds on the achievements of 'The same as you?”' 2000). This was successful in shifting the balance of care to support more people to live in the community. It also led to the closure of over 1000 long-stay beds, improved day opportunities, created employment and meaningful day activity and better protection from harm. 'The Keys to Life – Improving quality of life for people with learning disabilities' celebrates the changes that have happened over the last thirteen years but recognises that there is still a long way to go.

Download the strategy document

The Mission Project Ipad Initiative

"The Ipad Initiative (a US website) is designed to teach adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities how to use an iPad to: increase independence in their daily lives, connect socially within & outside of their community, find new & appropriate activities of leisure, further their education with new & meaningful information, and improve management of their health."

More about the Mission Project Ipad Initiative

Turning Point

As a national health and social care provider, Turning Point offers the personalised care and support people need to make positive changes in their lives. Turning Point has provided learning disability services and support for more than 20 years. Services are tailored to include helping people with their communication skills, making more day to day choices, or living independently. The organisation helps people to achieve a positive, free and fulfilling life and those with a learning disability to get the life they want through appropriate support.

Turning Point developed its support planning and outcomes tool to keep track of progress. The tool breaks down goals into easy manageable steps to ensure that wants and needs are being met, as far as possible. A major goal is to challenge public perceptions of disability and bring about positive changes to give people with a learning disability the same life opportunities as others.

Find out more on the Turning Point website

RADAR - Doing Sport Differently

Disability Rights UK has launched a guide to sport and fitness for people with a disability or health condition. Doing Sport Differently is the latest edition in the Doing Life Series. It covers the benefits of exercise and shows how to get involved.

Download a free copy of Doing Sport Differently

Half of learning disability services failed to meet government standards

The Care Quality Commission publish the report of their inspection of 150 learning disability services announced in response to the abuse at Winterbourne View highlighted by the BBC's Panorama programme on 31 May 2011.

Download the CQC Report and find out more on their website

The Department of Health also published an interim report containing new proposals to improve the quality and safety of services for people with learning disabilities.

Find out more and download the report on the Department of Health website.

You can find out more about the background to Winterbourne View and the responses to the Department of Health's Interim Report on this website's Winterbourne View Responses page.

What's happening in social care?


Chris Hatton of the University of Lancaster writes about "the apparent disappearance of people with learning disabilities from the official gaze of statistics and services designed to support people with learning disabilities", in his latest blog. 

Read Chris Hatton's blog.

Watch Chris' speech a BILD Annual Conference 2015 

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Personal Health Budgets guides and information

In Control have co-produced new practical guides and information about using personal health budgets for children and young people for health services and their partners.

Personal Health Budgets and Children's Equipment

Personal Health Budgets and Delegation of Responsibilities

Personal Health Budgets and Young People with Complex Needs

Personal Health Budgets and Joint Commissioning

Find out more information 

"We’re at a crucial time for personal health budgets"

In an NHS England blog, Registered Nurse, Joyce Bowler, writes "Amid a continuing drive at for wholescale redesign of health services, another more subtle shift is taking place, to ensure that for a subset of people for whom traditional healthcare services don’t work, more personalised approaches become the norm.

Personal health budgets, or PHBs, have been described as a “breath of fresh air”. Personal health budgets are not about new money, but using existing money differently to meet people’s needs. At the centre of the budget is the care and support plan. This plan and the budget are then signed off by the individual’s NHS team, and regularly reviewed." 

Find out more information

New Money & Mental Health Policy Institute launched 

A major new policy institute dedicated to researching and finding solutions to the devastating link between mental illness and money problems was launched this week, funded by a donation of at least £2 million from MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis.  

Find out more information

Fact sheets on money for family carers

Dosh has launched a new series of fact sheets for family carers who manage their relative's money. Managing money for your relative can be an important connection to them, but can also be stressful, worrying and confusing. 

They have worked with family carers to find out what information they need to help them and written these fact sheets based on this work which include information on benefits, mental capacity, planning for the future and checklists for financial health.

Download the fact sheets on money for family carers >

Free guide to claiming Disability Living Allowance for children

Contact a Family have published the latest version of their popular guide to claiming Disability Living Allowance for children. The guide tells you who can claim and how. Your child doesn't need a diagnosis to qualify, and your child's disability doesn't have to be severe - a child who needs help for just part of the day can qualify. Plus, you can still claim DLA if you work.  

Download the Disability Living Allowance Guide      

Timetable for Personal Independence Payment to replace Disability Living Allowance

This publication sets out the dates during which Personal Independence Payment will replace Disability Living Allowance and sets out the age groups and parts of the country affected at each stage.  

Download the timetable (Also available in Welsh) 

Personal Budgets: the good, the bad and the ugly

What is a direct payment? Are they the same as a personal budget? If I want to buy a service to go into the school, will this be allowed? These are among the questions answered in this guide to personal budgets within the process of the Children and Families Act. 

Find out more

Calculate your benefits

The process of claiming benefits is complex and can be difficult to understand. But Scope is hoping to change this by making it easier to find out what support and welfare benefits people are entitled to. Scope's new benefit calculator has been created to help users access independent information on welfare benefits and other sources of financial help. The benefits calculator takes 10 minutes to complete and is free to use.

Find out more 

Money Skills Resources

Banking made clearer - Quick Guide

This resource is a quick reference guide for people with learning disabilities wishing to undertake a variety of financial transactions.

Download the Banking made clear Quick Guide

Banking made clear - Resource Pack

This toolkit contains four activities to help volunteers, support workers, tutors, and other practitioners who work with people with learning disabilities to put together and run successful money management sessions.

Download the Resource Pack

You can read more about the project and its resources on our Money Skills project page.

Department for Work and Pensions Social Fund Guide

The Social Fund is a scheme to help people with needs which are difficult to meet from regular income. It is made up of two distinct parts: a regulated scheme which provides entitlement to maternity, funeral, cold weather and winter fuel payments for people who satisfy certain qualifying conditions, and a discretionary scheme under which people may be eligible in certain circumstances for a: Community Care Grant (CCG) - to meet, or help to meet, a need for community care or a Budgeting Loan (BL) - to meet, or help to meet, an intermittent expense, or a Crisis Loan (CL) - to meet, or help to meet, an immediate short term need.

View the DWP Social Fund Guide online

Financial advice from Turn2us

Turn2us, part of Elizabeth Finn Care, helps people across welfare benefits, grants and other forms of financial help. Its website has been designed to help people find appropriate sources of financial support, quickly and easily, based on their particular needs and circumstances. It also includes a useful “jargon buster” section and advice on how to claim benefits, find an advisor and manage their money.

Visit the Turn2us website to find out more

Judith Trust Mental health services report cover
Mental health services for adults with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities and mental health problems do not always receive good services, because there are very few people who have been trained or have experience in both mental health and learning disabilities. The different services do not always work well together and people do not always get the help and support they need.

The Judith Trust  asked service users and staff who work in learning disabilities services what they think are good services and how we can make them better.

You can download a copy of their report, published in July 2011, and a copy of the easy read version of the report.

Website launch - easy read resources for mental health

The Support Plus Team at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board are delighted to launch an easy read website as part of the road to wellbeing in Primary Care Mental Health Support Services. The website has a range of resources to help support emotional health and promote mental wellbeing for those who like things clear and simple. These web pages offer information for service users, staff and carers including apps, books and leaflets covering a range of emotional health and wellbeing topics.  Easy read website >  Road to wellbeing >

New resource to support conversations about dementia

University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has officially launched a new resource called 'Jenny's Diary to help people with a learning disability understand their diagnosis of dementia. It has been developed in collaboration with Hansel and is funded by Alzheimer’s Society. This is a free resource and can be downloaded.

Download Jenny's Diary from the website  

A video from SCIE about mental capacity

Do you know how to help someone who may lack capacity, to make decisions? In a new film, Baroness Finlay, Chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum, explains how the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) can support care staff with difficult decisions. "The MCA isn't a blanket judgement over people's mental capacity."  

Watch the video >

Five key steps to assessing capacity

The process of assessing a person’s mental capacity is often misunderstood by social care practitioners as they seek to apply the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and the lessons from case law. 

Because of this, Community Care has launched a set of resources which aims to support practitioners improve their capacity assessments and become more legally literate in this area of law. They set out five key steps to take when assessing capacity: The starting point, Capacity is decision and time specific, Preparation for capacity assessments, Take all practicable steps and Applying the test. 

Find out more information.  

Resources from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health

Excellent accessible and useful resources from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health available here > We use the safety tools frequently in our PBS programmes at CAPBS, to help people develop more collaborative Behaviour Support Plans with children and young people.

Mind publish campaigner guides on restraint

Mind have published a two guides to help campaigners better understand the guidance on restraint, and help people campaign on the issue.

Restraint in mental health services: What the guidance says >

Restraint in mental health services: Influencing change in your area >

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Depression in people with learning disabilities

A webpage about this subject produced by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Go to their website.

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Mind helps people to take control over their mental health. They provide information and advice, training programmes, grants and services through our network of local Mind associations. They do all this to make it possible for people who experience mental distress to live full lives, and play their full part in society. 

Find out more about mental health and people with learning disabilities on the Mind website.

Mental illness, challenging behaviour, and psychotropic drug prescribing in people with intellectual disability

A BMJ study found the proportion of people with intellectual disability who have been treated with psychotropic drugs far exceeds the proportion with recorded mental illness.

Antipsychotics are often prescribed to people without recorded severe mental illness but who have a record of challenging behaviour.

The findings suggest that changes are needed in the prescribing of psychotropics for people with intellectual disability. 

Download the journal article 

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Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) MCA e-learning website

These elearning resources are freely available to all. They provide audio, video and interactive technology to assist in exploring the many areas of the Mental Capacity Act.

Find out more on the SCIE website.

SCIE 'At a glance' 43: Deprivation of Liverty Safeguards

Download this short guide from the SCIE website.

A  video from SCIE about mental capacity

Do you know how to help someone who may lack capacity, to make decisions? In this film, Baroness Finlay, Chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum, explains how the Mental Capacity Act can support care staff with difficult decisions. "The MCA isn't a blanket judgement over people's mental capacity." 

Watch the film >

Resources to navigate capacity and deprivation of liberty issues

A new knowledge and practice hub on mental capacity and deprivation of liberty for Inform Adults' subscribers is packed with helpful guidance. Mental capacity assessments, best interests decisions and issues around deprivation of liberty are complicated practice areas tied up in complex court rulings and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. 

This is why Community Care Inform Adults has produced a set of resources to help practitioners navigate these areas, resolve practice conundrums and become more able to defend their practice in court.  

Find out more information.

Film: Using the Mental Capacity Act

This video, produced by SCIE, explains the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and how it can protect the right to make choices. For people who need the MCA, their carers, and others.  

Watch the film >

law society publication
Identifying a deprivation of liberty: a practical guide

This guide was published in April 2015 by the Law Society and commissioned by the Department of Health – it is aimed at front line professionals and may be useful for those who are seeking to understand how deprivation of liberty applies in different settings.

Download the guide

The deprivation of liberty webpage offers the Guide, quick reference guides for different settings, and a podcast discusses the essential messages flowing from what is a lengthy guidance document.

Visit the law society webpage

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Mental Capacity Act: A resource for family and friends of people with learning disabilities

This resource has been developed specifically for family and friends of people with learning disabilities, using knowledge gained through practical experience since 2007, so that they understand how the Act affects them and those they care about.

Using the Mental Capacity Act: A resource for family and friends of people with learning disabilities is the outcome of a joint project between Hft’s Family Carer Support Service (FCSS), the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (FPLD) and the National Family Carer Network (NFCN), and was funded by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).

Download the report from the Hft website where you can also see videos about using the Mental Capacity Act.

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Making Best Interests Decisions: People and Processes

The Best Interests Decisions Study was the first large-scale national research to find out about professional practices in best interests decisions made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The study was led by the Norah Fry Research Centre at Bristol University, in collaboration with the University of Bradford and a UK research and development charity, the Mental Health Foundation. The study was funded by the Department of Health and was completed in 2011.

Download a copy of the report or the summary, from the Mental Health Foundation's website.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Act can be read at the legislation.gov.uk website.

Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice

The Code of Practice supports the MCA and provides guidance to all those who care for and/or make decisions on behalf of adults who lack capacity. The Code includes case studies and clearly explains in more detail the key features of the MCA.

Read the Code of Practice and other information about the Act on this Justice department website.

Mental Capacity Act 2005: Deprivation of liberty safeguards - Code of Practice

You can download the Code of Practice for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards from the Department of Health website.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and you

Hospitals, care homes, local authorities and Primary Care Trusts have a statutory duty under MCA DOLS legislation to make sure that the person made subject to the authorisation and assessment process is supported to understand what is happening to them; and that they are made aware of their rights and entitlements under the MCA DOLS. 

This is information, produced by the Department of Health in easy read, audio and video for the information of those going through the process

The Department takes the view that these publications should only be provided for those service users and their families who are going through the assessment process.

Download it from the Department of Health website.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Factsheet

This factsheet looks at the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) which relates to people who are placed in care homes or hospitals for their care or treatment. They are part of wider legislation designed to protect the rights of people who lack mental capacity and they also link with human rights law.

This factsheet covers: what deprivation of liberty means; the required procedure for authorising a potential deprivation of liberty; what you can do if you are concerned that someone is being unlawfully deprived of their liberty; and the required procedures and protections available once someone has been deprived of their liberty.

Download the factsheet

Best interest assessors have high levels of job satisfaction despite heavy workloads

A survey of Best Interests Assessor reveals less stress and higher wellbeing scores than the average social worker.

BIAs reported having large workloads that required sustained effort and skill to manage. They also reported high levels of wellbeing and job satisfaction, and levels of burnout were significantly below those reported in other caring professions.

Find out more information

The operation of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in England, 2009/10

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has a duty to monitor the application of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. This monitoring role covers hospitals and care homes as managing authorities and primary care trusts (PCTs) and councils as supervisory bodies.

Download their first report on the Safeguards which provides an overview of how they were implemented and used in their first year (2009/10).

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The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) became part of The Mental Capacity Act 2005 from April 2009. The Mental Capacity Act is a law about making decisions and what to do when people cannot make some decisions for themselves.

When people cannot make a decision for themselves this is called lacking capacity. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards only apply to people who are lacking capacity.

BILD produced two short booklets for the Department of Health, that help explain the significance of DoLs.
Download The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and You

Download The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards for families and carers


Mencap's Mental Capacity Act resource for family carers of people with PMLD  

Mencap has produced a resource for parents and carers of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) to help ensure they are involved in making best-interest decisions about health matters. The new resource equips parents to know their rights and gives practical suggestions of how they can ensure that they and their family member are involved in decisions. It includes film clips of families telling their own stories of their experiences of healthcare. It also outlines useful tools that families can use, such as hospital passports and health action plans.

Download the resource from the Mencap website.

Mental Capacity Act and the Human Rights Act – new committee formed

A new House of Lords Committee has been established in Parliament to look at whether the Mental Capacity Act complies with protections in the Human Rights Act. The Committee's terms of reference should be published soon, along with the call to evidence. It will report by 28 February 2014.

More about the Committee and its remit

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Positive Practice, Positive Outcomes: A handbook for professional in the criminal justice system working with offenders with a learning disability

A Department of Health best practice handbook from Offender Health and Valuing People providing information, practical advice, sign-posting and best practice examples for criminal justice professionals working with offenders with learning disabilities and learning difficulties.

Find out more on the Department of Health website


Staying Positive: The Criminal Justice System and Learning Disabilities

A Department of Health Easy Read booklet for people with a learning disability. It provides information about the publication 'Positive Practice, Positive Outcomes', a handbook for staff in the criminal justice system about offenders with learning disability or learning disabilities.

Find out more on the Department of Health website

Adapting the Thinking Skills Programme to help offenders with learning disabilities

With funding from the Department of Health the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities has tested the feasibility of adapting delivery of the Thinking Skills Programme to suit the needs of prisoners with IQs below 80.

The Thinking Skills Programme is used by the National Offender Management Service to support prisoners and those on probation to address their self-control and problem solving skills, and to develop positive relationships.

Download the Thinking Skills Evaluation Report 

Download the Thinking Skills Project Report 

Mental Health & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts – new resource

The resource has been developed for the use of magistrates, district judges and court staff. It includes information about mental health conditions and learning disabilities, and the implications of these conditions for individuals appearing before the courts; how magistrates can recognise certain symptoms and obtain further information; ways in which defendants can be helped to participate effectively in court proceedings; and sentencing options.

Access the resource online or request a hard copy by email.

Going to a magistrate's court - information for people with learning disabilities

Leaflet produced by HM Courts & Tribunals Service and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to explain the magistrates’ court process to people with learning disabilities.

It is intended for use by anyone whose role involves supporting people with learning disabilities through the court process.

Download a copy of the leaflet.

Support for vulnerable defendants in the criminal courts

'Fair Access to Justice?' launched by the Prison Reform Trust for frontline staff in the criminal justice system and the NHS. It explains how people with a learning disability who have to appear in court as a victim or witness are given extra support or 'special measures' to help them understand and cope with the process.

Download a free copy from the Prison Reform Trust website

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Need a solicitor?

The Law Society has published an Easy Read guide for clients, supporting them to access solicitors more easily.

Download the easy read guide 

They've also issued guidance for solicitors to help them meet the needs of clients they describe as 'vulnerable '. This includes clients with a range of physical and mental health problems  including learning disabilities. There is also a focus for practitioners on the best approach to take when working with clients who lack mental capacity. The guidance, or Practice Note, has been issued in response to calls for support from law firms themselves and others.

More from the Law Society 

Preparing for your parole hearing

Preparing for your Parole Oral Hearing

The Parole Board has created an easy read guide for prisoners whose case will be considered at an oral hearing. 

Download the guide 

A guide to help with your Parole Review

A guide to help with your Parole Review 

An easy read guide has been created to help people understand what happens in a Parole Review.

Download the guide 

Other areas




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Travel in london

Transport for London have resources to support people with learning disabilities when travelling in London. This includes a person-centred guide to travelling in london, which also has an audio version.

Find out more on their website.

Helping Those With Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy Group provides educational information and support to those who have been affected by cerebral palsy.

Find out more on their website. 

The Community Data Toolkit

Small disability groups could boost their chances of getting funding and improve their services thanks to new government help to tap into a goldmine of data.

The ‘Community Data Toolkit’ provides everything disability groups and other grassroots organisations need to know about how to analyse and interpret data in one place.

Find out more about the toolkit

Countryside Mobility South West

Countryside Mobility South West is a scheme working to improve access to the countryside for people with limited mobility living in and visiting the South West region. The scheme is operated by Living Options Devon, a charitable organisation that exists to ensure people with disabilities and Deaf people can make an active and equal contribution in society.

Countryside Mobility works with partners who hire out our Tramper mobility scooters and wheelchair accessible Wheelyboats at locations across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset to enable people with limited mobility to gain access to the countryside.

Find out more on the Countryside Mobility website

Really Useful Stuff website

Really Useful Stuff is a new online marketplace that enables people to find ergonomically designed products that are easier and better to use, especially for older and disabled people. The website features really useful stuff for independent living, and finds products by listening to the recommendations of Really Useful Stuff’s followers.

Find out more on the Really Useful Stuff website

Guidance to support effective challenge

Voice Ability has published a 'Practice guide for advocates challenging decisions or actions with or on behalf of individuals' which provides provides essential reference materials, case examples and references to relevant Articles within Acts and Statutory Guidance; and aims to increase the knowledge and confidence of those challenging decisions in often, very complex situations.

Download the guide

Find out where the Changing Places toilets are on your next journey

The always brilliant Changing Places consortium have produced a new online map to help you find the location of Changing Places toilets and plan your next journey.  More >

Stuck in the system - short films on ATUs

There are an estimated 3,000 people with autism and learning difficulties living in Assessment Treatment Units. 950 of these 3,000 shouldn’t be there. But with nowhere for them to go, short-term treatment units have turned into long term hospital sentences. With the NHS investing £45 million, they aim to to get up to half of these inpatients out over the next 3 years. But is this feasible? 

This new short film made by a student to try and raise awareness of what's happening to young people with autism and/or learning disabilities stuck in inappropriate treatment units. Watch the film >

If you can recommend any information about people with learning disabilities that would be useful to others, please let us know at enquiries@bild.org.uk


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