New social investment fund needed, steering group chaired by Sir Stephen Bubb says

The group, set up in the wake of the Winterbourne View abuse scandal, looked into support for people with learning disabilities or autism

Sir Stephen Bubb
Sir Stephen Bubb

A report into support and care for people with learning disabilities or autism has proposed more service delivery opportunities for community and voluntary organisations, and the creation of a multi-million pound social investment fund.

The report follows an exposé by the BBC’s Panorama programme in 2011, showing abuse and inappropriate care at Winterbourne View care home in Bristol.

This summer Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the charity leaders group Acevo, was appointed by NHS England to lead a steering group to develop a new national guide on care for people with learning disabilities or autism.

The resulting report Winterbourne View – Time for Change, published today, contains six top-line recommendations.

These include the urgent closure of inappropriate in-patient care institutions, the creation of a "charter of rights" for people with learning disabilities or autism, giving those people and their families the right to challenge decisions made about their care, a new framework of responsibility and accountability for decision-makers and improved training and education for NHS, local government and provider staff.

The sixth and final recommendation is the creation of a Life in the Community social investment fund to build capacity in community-based services, enabling them to provide alternative support to individuals.

The report says: "The investment fund, seeded with £30m from NHS England and/or government, could leverage some £200m from other investors to make investment more easily accessible to expand community-based services."

The government contribution could come from Libor fines, the report says.

The report says that the need for more community-based care, as opposed to putting people into homes, should create opportunities for voluntary organisations and others.

It says commissioners should give providers "the ability to understand the detailed needs and wishes of people in in-patient settings, upon which basis they can put forward a potential package of community-based support for consideration by the individual, their family, the commissioner and the responsible clinician".

The report says: "This should be an opportunity for people who can put together innovative solutions – providers, voluntary organisations, support brokers, advocates – to take the initiative."

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