Get the latest news, tools, events and funding opportunities from Skills for Care and partners

 Update for 
 learning disability and/or 
 autism services 

Welcome to our first update for learning disability and/or autism services

These updates will focus on workforce development for adult social care services for autistic people and people who have a learning disability. We’ll share the latest news, tools, events and funding opportunities from Skills for Care and other partners.

We’ll send these updates out quarterly, in addition to ad-hoc updates when we have important news to share.

You can also sign up to our fortnightly enews for regular updates from Skills for Care.

We were all shocked and saddened by the recent exposure of bad practice, such as the Panorama programme featuring Whorleton Hall. This has made us more determined than ever to support adult social care employers to recruit, develop and retain excellent staff who have the right values, skills and knowledge to provide high quality care and support. To that end, we hope that this newsletter will be helpful.

 News from Skills for Care 

New resources to support people with a learning disability with their mental health
People with a learning disability can be more likely to experience poor mental health. We've developed free resources to help adult social care staff talk to people about their everyday mental health, and enable them to get the support they need.

The resources include an animation, two posters about what makes people feel worried and what can help, and a wellbeing journal.

Download the resources here.

Updated research about the learning disability and autism workforce
We’ve updated our research report that provides an overview of the adult social care workforce supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autism. The report shows that there were an estimated 665,000 jobs in this workforce in 2017/18 (the latest complete data set), and 57,600 (9%) were in the local authority sector and 575,000 (86%) were in the independent sector. It also explores key workforce demographics including an employment overview, recruitment and retention, pay and qualifications.

Read the report here.

Testing a peer review process for PBS training
We’re running a pilot project to test a peer review process for PBS training. This will involve a number of learning providers who peer review each other’s training, to give feedback and share ideas. We hope that this will be a successful model to improve the quality of PBS training across the sector. Find out more about this project by listening to this webinar, and you can download the presentation slides here.

At the beginning of this project, we did a survey to understand more about PBS training and learning provision in adult social care. Download the findings from the survey here.

If you have any questions about the project, please email us.

Commissioning autism services consultation
Skills for Care, National Autistic Society (NAS) and National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), are developing a guide for commissioners who work in social care, health and children's commissioning for services for autistic people.

The guide looks at the key questions that you need to answer to make informed commissioning decisions. It explains the things that commissioners need to measure, what they need to do, who to engage with, as well as links to useful guidance and information.

We’re also developing a calculator to support the guidance. It’s based on local authority figures and aims to support understanding of the estimated current and future population of autistic people, to inform planning and decision making.

Download the draft guidance and find out how you can provide feedback here.

Join our standing advisory group
We want to set up a group of people with a learning disability and/or autistic people who can consider and advise us on the work that we do. This could be via telecom, email or face-to-face meetings, and we can cover reasonable travel and participation costs. If you know someone who might be interested, please email

Update on Liberty Protection Safeguards
The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 has now received Royal Assent and become law. The legislation provides for the repeal of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) contained in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and their replacement with a new scheme called the Liberty Protection Safeguards.

Skills for Care is working with partners to identify the workforce development implications of these changes in adult social care and develop supporting guidance.

We’ll provide further updates in this newsletter.

 News from the sector 

Stay up late
Stay Up Late is a charity that promotes full and active social lives for people with learning disabilities. One of the most frequently asked questions they get asked is “how can you support teams to write rotas that support people to stay up late?”

This article, ‘The secret to writing a #NoBedTimes rota’, shares how services can write a flexible rota that enables people with learning disabilities to stay up late (if they want to), and live their life based around how they choose.

Read the article here.

Know Your Rights
The Autism Alliance UK launched their ‘Know Your Rights’ awareness raising campaign in April to celebrate World Autism Awareness Month.

The Alliance is concerned that autistic people can’t always access proper community care assessments. The aim of the campaign is to ensure that autistic people know their rights around care needs assessment, and that local authorities ensure that staff are informed about their legal obligations to them.

Find out more about the campaign here. The Alliance has also produced a series of free downloads for autistic people and local authorities, which you can download at the bottom of the web page.

Autistica briefings about autism
Autistica has worked with autistic people, researchers and health professionals to develop a set of briefings for policy makers who are reviewing the English Autism Strategy. The briefings contain recommendations on a series of topics based on the latest research evidence, including:

§  eating disorders

§  adult mental health

§  children and young people's mental health

§  epilepsies

§  other co-occurring conditions

§  reasonable adjustments

§  health checks.

Read the briefings here. They’ll be releasing further briefings in the coming months, including information about access to adult diagnosis, diagnosis of women and employment.

An independent guide to quality care for autistic people
The National Autistic Taskforce has produced ‘An independent guide to quality care for autistic people’. The guide focuses on developing autonomy for autistic people and sets out some of the practical details involved in achieving self-determination. It focuses on the person themselves as the primary source of information, instruction and guidance, and so the guide moves towards autistic leadership and beyond co-production. It’s aimed primarily at care providers, commissioners and inspectorates, and can also be helpful to others in implementing the development of autonomy.

Download the guide here.

Tell us how the ‘Every day is different’ campaign has helped your service
Between February and April 2019, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched the ‘Every day is different’ campaign to raise awareness about careers in social care.

One of the proposed outcomes of the campaign was to support adult social care providers with their local recruitment needs.

DHSC is now reviewing the impact of the campaign and would love to hear from providers who have, for example, seen increased interest in jobs, increased website visits or increased applications.

If you’ve seen a positive impact in your service, or know an employer that has, please email Sarah Chaudry from DHSC here.

New edition of #WeSupportSTOMP game launched
VODG has launched a new, larger version of the STOMP card game.

The primary purpose of the game is to prompt conversations between people with a learning disability, autistic people and their support staff about psychotropic medication. It can also be used to raise staff awareness about good practice in tackling over-medication.

This new game is A5 size and is suitable for playing on the floor. It’s also more usable for people who struggle to hold the smaller cards and for people with visual impairments.

Find out more about the game here

 National news 

Learning disability nursing associates training grant
Health Education England (HEE) is offering an enhanced training grant for trainee nursing associates in NHS commissioned services for people with a learning disability. This training grant is to support staff who are spending at least 50% of their time working in learning disability services and who commence their nursing associate training before 31 December 2019.

At the moment this is not available to social care services, but HEE suggest getting in touch with your local HEE contact if you want to find out more.

Find out more here.

Review of restraint, prolonged seclusion and segregation for people with a mental health problem, a learning disability or autism: interim report publication
Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published the interim findings of their review of the use of restrictive interventions in places that provide care for people with mental ill-health, a learning disability and/or autistic people.

The interim report focuses exclusively on the experiences of 39 people who are cared for in segregation on a mental health ward for children and young people, or on a ward for people with a learning disability or autism.

On their visits, they found that a high proportion of people in segregation were autistic, that many staff lacked the necessary training and skills, and some of the wards didn’t have a built environment that was suitable for autistic people with autism. The interim report makes a number of recommendations for the health and care system, including for CQC itself.

Read the preliminary findings and download the report here.

The full findings and recommendations are due to be published in Spring 2020.


Provider Collaboratives
NHS England and NHS Improvement are inviting all providers of specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services to become part of ‘Provider Collaboratives’, as part of the New Care Models roll out. The collaboratives will become an important delivery vehicle for improving specialised mental health services. This initial call is for the lead partners, which must be NHS organisations. If you’re interested in being a partner, please contact your NHS England or NHS Improvement regional contact to find out more. You can read more about the collaboratives here

Please note: the collaboratives don’t replace Transforming Care. The Transforming Care and New Care Models programmes share the common purpose of shifting resource to the community, so that people can be supported in their local community in less restrictive settings.

Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) annual report launched
Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) has published their 2018 annual report, which indicates ongoing concerns about the premature deaths of people with a learning disability.

The review found that adults with a learning disability from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups appear to be under-represented in notifications of deaths. Women with a learning disability died 27 years earlier, and men 23 years earlier, when compared to the general population. And potentially treatable illnesses such as pneumonia, or aspiration pneumonia, were identified as causes of death in 41% of reviews.

Read the full report here, including an easy read version.

New guidance on relationships and sexuality in adult social care services
CQC has published new guidance for registered providers which focuses on supporting people who need care and support to express their sexuality and to have their needs met. The guidance explains the importance of enabling people to manage their sexuality needs, and how you can support people to access the education and information to develop and maintain relationships.

Download the guidance here.

 Dates for your diary 

There are no dates for your diary at the moment.

Please check the Skills for Care website for other events and seminars,

Registered managers can also engage with your local Registered Manager Network. Some of these networks are specifically for managers of services for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people. Find your local network here

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