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Cabinet to consider proposals to change learning disability support in Derbyshire

The plans will be discussed on Thursday this week.

Proposals to change the way people with learning disabilities and autism are supported to lead fulfilling lives are being considered by Derbyshire County Council.

Cabinet, which meets on June 6, will be asked to agree plans to transform support to help people with learning disabilities and autism achieve their ambitions.

The introduction of the Care Act 2014 gave the council greater responsibility to ensure people with learning disabilities and autism lead independent lives.

New proposals aim to focus on an individual’s strengths to help them achieve personal goals instead of trying to fit them in to services that are available.

People with learning disabilities and autism would be supported to play an active role in their local community with help to find volunteering or training opportunities, work experience or paid work.

Figures show that the number of people, particularly young people, using day centres has fallen. Of the 15 council-run centres, 14 have empty places as people are choosing to do other things.

During a 12-week consultation almost 700 people gave their views about the proposed changes through an online questionnaire and a series of public meetings held across the county.

Members of the Cabinet will be asked to agree that:

  • People who are assessed as having the most complex needs would be able to use day centres but the activities and location may change.
  • People new to services would be offered one-to-one support to find activities, work or volunteering opportunities in their local area.
  • People who currently use day services can still go to those day services if they want to.
  • Everyone will be assessed against the council’s transport policy in future and some people may have to make and pay for their own travel to and from the day centre.
  • Voluntary and independent organisations will receive support to set up more things to do in the community.
  • Work-based day services run by the council will change to become employment skills and training hubs. More people with a learning disability and autism will be able to do work-based training to support more people to be able to work or volunteer if they want to.

Councillor Jean Wharmby, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their views.

“People with learning disabilities and autism have told us they want to lead ordinary lives – getting involved in their local community, meeting friends, learning new skills or getting a job.

“So instead of trying to fit people in to services we have available, we aim to make sure our support focuses on an individual’s strengths to help them achieve personal goals.

“We are committed to supporting people with learning disabilities and autism, their families and carers but traditional services, such as day centres, may not always be the best way to do this.”

The county council currently supports around 680 people aged from 18 to over 65 with learning disabilities – of those, around 460 currently attend a county council day centre.

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