Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

4 Changing the system

The rights of people with learning disabilities were emphasised strongly in the 2001 Valuing People White Paper. This was the first policy document in England and Wales to focus on learning disability for 30 years. In Scotland, The Same as You policy was published in 2000.

Activity 6 Valuing People

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch this short video about the Valuing People White Paper and then think about what you consider to be its most important aspects by answering the poll at the link below.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 9
Skip transcript: Video 9

Transcript: Video 9

[MUSIC PLAYING]
NARRATOR
In 2001, the re-elected New Labour government initiated the white paper, Valuing People, a policy document to inspire changes which would lead to improving the lives of people with learning disabilities.
MAN
It was during Valuing People, when that came out, I thought that was something was starting to make a real change and make an influence.
MAN
Valuing People now.
WOMAN
Valuing People now.
MAN
Valuing People now.
ROB GREIG
There hadn't been any government policy or formal statement since 1971. And the world had changed an awful lot in that time.
NARRATOR
Rob Greig is the director for the National Development Team for Inclusion. He was co-author for the 2001 Valuing People white paper.
ROB GREIG
Policy bore no relationship to what was happening in the lives of people with learning disabilities. And across the country, there were some really interesting, innovative developments happening. And at the same time, there were some very backward, dated approaches. So I think a number of people in government began to realise that there needed to be some greater clarity as to what people were supposed to be doing.
WOMAN
People with learning disabilities should have the same rights and choices as everybody else.
MAN
And the same chances as anybody else.
ROB GREIG
I think we had broad aspirations that we knew people's lives had to be changed, that people had to be given more power and control over their lives. But I think that the precise detail wasn't necessarily there. Because one of the things that it's important to emphasise about Valuing People is it was the first, certainly, Department of Health and probably, government policy that was actually developed in partnership with the people who the policy was about.
MAN
There were going to be no day centres after 2010. And there was all those getting people properly back into the community. Closure would [? be against ?] long institutions. And we saw it all on paper, but we couldn't wait till the time come around.
ROB GREIG
The big shift the Valuing People white paper did was, up till then, national policy and therefore, the way services had behaved were based upon the premise that services needed to do something to help these poor, unfortunate people with learning disabilities. And I choose my pejorative words intentionally. And what we aim to do with the white paper was to flip that on its head. So the issue became how can services help and support people with learning disabilities to live lives as equal citizens? So it started for the first time from a policy position that people had equal rights, that they should be able to do the same things as others did, and crucially, that the voice of people with learning disabilities, and indeed, their families as well.
End transcript: Video 9
Video 9
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Link: The value of Valuing People [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Once you have submitted your choice you can then see how others have voted.

Valuing People is recognised as a landmark piece of policy in learning disability. But it is also acknowledged that Valuing People did not create the widespread change that people hoped it would. Some of the changes it advocated – such as closing day centres – have since been criticised for reducing people’s opportunities to socialise, and putting more pressure on families.

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