On 10 June Care Minister Norman Lamb launched a national set of Quality of Life standards which have been written by over 650 young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism alongside their peers with disabilities.
The standards, cover all areas of a person’s life from where they live, to where they work and how they are an equal member of the community, are intended to raise the aspirations of people with learning disabilities and their families from around the country so they can both speak out and take action when people with learning disabilities are not being supported to live as equal citizens.
The 3 fundamental principles underlying the standards are:
- Equal citizenship and integration – the standards are based on a model of equal citizenship where people with learning disabilities are seen and respected as equal citizens in society, being integrated into the community as active participants.
- Personalisation – the standards are not a set of service standards; they are based on the assumption that people decide what support they need to be independent, who will provide that support, and where and when that support will be provided so it is timely and wrapped around the individual.
- Quality – the standards are about quality as defined by people themselves. These standards set the benchmark for commissioners and providers alike, as well as giving people with learning disabilities a set of “ordinary aspirations” against which they can measure the quality of the support they are receiving.
Locally the standards are being used by commissioners in a range of ways: they have embedded them into social care provider contracts so standards set by local disabled people have become a contractual obligation; they have used them to shape care planning so the person with the disability is at the centre of the planning process and in control of the major decisions which affect their lives; they also commission Changing Our Lives to use the standards to not only check people’s quality of life but also to challenge people to think and behave differently towards people with disabilities.