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Bubb report: social work values have to be embedded in commissioning

BASW is backing a new report recommending the immediate closure of all Winterbourne-style institutions in favour of greater community provision.

The report, written by Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) was commissioned by NHS England CEO Simon Stevens to “explore how a new national framework of support might be delivered locally”.

Sir Stephen’s recommendations are:

  • To urgently close inappropriate in-patient care institutions;
  • A Charter of Rights for people with learning disabilities and/or autism and their families; 
  • To give people with learning disabilities and their families a ‘right to challenge’ decisions and the right to request a personal budget;
  • A requirement for local decision-makers to follow a mandatory framework that sets out who is responsible, for which services and how they will be held to account, including improved data collection and publication; 
  • Improved training and education for NHS, local government and provider staff;
  • To start a social investment fund to build capacity in community-based services, to enable them to provide alternative support and empowering people with learning disabilities by giving them the rights they deserve in determining their care.

Commenting on the report, Winterbourne View – Time for Change, BASW England Manager Maris Stratulis said: “We talk about placing people in homes when what they need is a place to call home. We are pleased to see Sir Stephen prioritising the voice of people with learning disabilities.

“This is a theme that cuts across all social work, we are hearing too many children and adults say they are just not being listened to.

“This report is a starting point for a broader discussion of how people with learning disabilities want to live their lives in all aspects, including the things we all need such as education, work, housing and leisure.

“Advocacy should be at the heart of social work with adults, underpinned by robust assessment. We need real multi-agency working, in well-resourced community teams with social workers being given an equal footing with their health colleagues.

“Ultimately, social work values have to be embedded in the commissioning process and shape every decision.”

Read the report here