Learning Disability Cover image

Learning Disability

In the West Glamorgan region, data on future projections for people with a learning disability for the over 18 age group isn’t currently available, and generally there is limited data on the population of people with a learning disability. Data is also not currently available to identify people with a learning disability in cohorts of the population belonging to other protected characteristic groups.

From the data that is available, gaps have been identified in how data is recorded and presented. The West Glamorgan Regional Partnership acknowledges the gaps in data as a concern that will be addressed going forward.

As part of the development of the Regional Learning Disability Strategy, the required data to underpin the planning on which services are needed for the region is being collated. This will provide a direction of travel that has been developed by people with a learning disability, their parents/carers and staff working in these services, and will begin the process for a programme of change across the partnership, as well as management of dependencies across other programmes to embed the importance of our vision for learning disabilities in all of our transformation activities. 

This chapter has highlighted issues faced by people with a learning disability that, if through the engagement events comes through the regional population, our commitment for future working must include:

  1. A strategic approach to support people with learning disabilities driven by the needs of the population, including a person-centred approach to working with people;
  2. Embedding the right principles across our organisations and services including how we address common issues like language, stigma and discrimination;
  3. More engagement with and representation of service users, carers and other key stakeholders including co-production activities;
  4. Better quality data including real life experiences and case studies from across our population groups;
  5. Better use of resources, assets and skilled workers to deliver better outcomes more efficiently;
  6. Transforming how services are delivered through trialling new models of care and integration of service provision

The data development agenda is a key consideration in addressing the points above. There is a need to:

  • ensure there is common understanding and consistency across the partners in the way the data is recorded and analysed
  • carry out further analysis to plan for the needs of the region’s population.

The modernisation of services is another key area of work which requires a specific focus to effectively address inequalities and inequities, driving forward improved services. 

To fully address this for the learning disability population across the region, a Learning Disability Programme has been introduced within the governance of the West Glamorgan Regional Partnership. The first aim of the group is to develop a Regional Learning Disability Strategy that will outline in more detail how the needs of people with learning disabilities will be met over the next five years.

As at spring 2022, planning of the strategy is in progress. The project began in 2021 with the creation of a regional Strategy Development Group. At the time of writing this chapter, a commissioned organisation is in the process of facilitating co-produced engagement events for people with learning disabilities. The aim of these events is to ensure people with lived experience have the opportunity to highlight what changes are needed in line with the current vision statement, to identify key priorities, and to allow them to have meaningful conversations about what matters to them. Engagement with professionals working with people with learning disabilities is also planned.

The vision for people with a Learning Disability is as follows

“Children, Young People and Adults with a Learning Disability in West Glamorgan have a sense of belonging and can participate fully within inclusive communities; they have access to additional support to imagine and reach their full potential and current barriers and inequalities experienced by people with a learning disability in West Glamorgan are replaced by an active assertion of their Human Rights.”

The Learning Disability Strategy Development Group provides a shared mechanism to develop and oversee strategic planning between statutory partners, members of the community and carers that seeks to achieve the vision. This will be realised by:

  • Co-producing a five year regional, all age, Learning Disability Strategy and associated Action Plan with a particular focus on prevention and early intervention. This will be a living document which will be monitored and reviewed annually by the Learning Disability Strategy Group
  • Bringing coherence to the approach in the Regional Partnership Board, specifically for learning disabilities. 
  • Reducing health inequalities for people with learning disabilities.

It will provide a complementary function to the purposes of other programmes within West Glamorgan, including Transforming Complex Care, and Children and Young People.

The overarching objectives of the programme are:

  • To provide the right support at the right time to people with learning disabilities
  • To understand the demand for services and the capacity across the region to be able to meet demand
  • To develop ways of working to engage with wider partners and stakeholders to improve the lives of the people of West Glamorgan
  • To map and align regional programmes, work streams and services delivering improvements for people with learning disabilities
  • Enhance focused outcomes and experiences for people with a learning disability.

Initial draft priorities that have been agreed by the board include:

  • Reducing health inequalities
  • Response to recovery of COVID-19
  • Visibility in society/being an equal part of the community
  • Securing rights and entitlements
  • Physical and mental health and emotional well-being
  • Protection from abuse and neglect
  • Education, training and recreation
  • Domestic, family and personal relationships
  • Contribution made to society
  • Social and economic well-being (including participation in work)
  • Suitability of living accommodation.

These priorities will be further developed through the engagement events being held in the spring of 2022. Initial work has however started with the following projects:

Project NameSummary
Accommodation solutionsDevelopment of a range of accommodation options in the region for young people with complex needs going through transition; younger adults with complex needs
Whole systems approachDevelopment of a whole systems approach of learning disability processes across the region
Learning Disability Liaison ForumEnabling coproduction to be embedded as per the Regional Coproduction Framework and supporting involvement in co-designing services that meet their needs
Further education, work, volunteering and day opportunitiesIncreasing the opportunities for people with a learning disability to be involved in their local community
Reducing health inequalitiesIncreasing the general health and wellbeing of people with a learning disability across the region
Recovery from COVID-19 for people with a learning disabilitySupporting the population with practical pieces of work which will be further developed after discussions on what type of support would be helpful and required.

Future work will inform the direction of the group and will develop the recommendations for the chapter. The content will be refreshed, and outcomes of the engagement undertaken will be incorporated into the new regional strategy going forward.