Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just another talking shop?

What a fascinating morning! I was at St Stephen's Club in Westminster on Thursday attending a 'Chatham House' roundtable on the future of specialist care for adults with learning disabilities.

The event, chaired by David Brindle from The Guardian, was attended by professionals from the Department for Health, Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Valuing People Support Team, IDeA, and the Institute for Public Policy Research, along with several other care organisations and charities.

It began with keynote presentations from Dame Jo Williams, Chief Executive of Mencap, and myself, along with a provider viewpoint from Bob Lewis of the Care Management Group, and then a two hour discussion on a way forward.

Overwhelmingly, the message was clear. We need to raise the awareness of Learning Disabilities; we need Government to be clear in their expectations - and harder still, to stick to them long enough for us to deliver. We need to accept that there's no 'silver bullet' quick answer, and although we can make efficiencies in our own organisations, this of itself isn't enough to balance our collective books.

As I said in my presentation, I hope this morning wasn't just another talking shop, and that we'll see some real actions and outcomes as a result of our morning together.

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