Workforce update for 
 services that support people 
 with a learning disability 
 and/or autistic people 

Welcome to this workforce development update for adult social care services that support people with a learning disability and/or autistic people.

It shares the latest news, resources, events and funding opportunities from Skills for Care and partners, and you can find previous newsletters here.
 News from Skills for Care 

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in learning disability and autism  
Skills for Care and HEE are co-ordinating the development of training that aims to make sure staff working in health and social care receive learning disability and autism training, at the right level for their role. The next forum to update people on the progress is taking place with partners who are designing, developing, trialling the training will be on the 6 July 2021. It will give stakeholders the opportunity to provide an update, obtain feedback and answer any questions raised and everyone is welcome to attend.

⇨ Book onto the forum

Learning and development for people with a learning disability and/or autism - transition into adulthood
Skills for Care often hear that if families caring for a child or young person who is autistic and/or has a learning disability had access to tailored learning and development, they would be better equipped to support the person they’re caring for as they move from children's services to adult life.

Skills for Care has commissioned a research project conducted by Research Partners which took place between October 2018 and April 2019 with an aim of investigating the available evidence on the:
  • knowledge and skills family and/or unpaid carers require
  • availability of learning and development for families and carers
  • impact of existing learning and development, particularly on individuals, their care, support delivery and the impact that this has on service use.
⇨ Download the full report for more information
 Events, learning and development 

Supporting people to use everyday technology
Social care staff need to be ready to help people they support and their families to make choices about using technology to stay connected and contribute to their communities. This might include making appointments online, video calls, using apps to track sleep, diet etc.

Skills for Care is running a series of workshops which anyone can attend whether you’re new to using technology, or just want to improve your skills. Workshops 1 and 2 have already taken place and have been recorded and can be accessed on the website.The remaining workshops, delivered via zoom, can be booked using the link below.
  • Workshop 3 – Accessibility - Thursday 10 June 2021, 11:00 to 12:00
  • Workshop 4 - Leading and co-producing - Thursday 24 June 2021, 11:00 to 12:00
  • Workshop 5 - Hardware, software and practical technology - Thursday 8 July 2021, 11:00 to 12:00
  • Workshop 6 - Safety - Thursday 22 July 2021, 11:00 to 12:00
  • Workshop 7 - Everyday tech learning exchange - Thursday 5 August 2021, 11:00 to 12:00
⇨ Book here

Public Health England Screening Inequalities Conference
The second national PHE Screening Inequalities Conference took place in February. The conference recordings and supporting videos are available to view via the PHE Screening blog.

Presentations from the morning are available below:
 Guidance from the Government, 
 NHS and key stakeholders 

NHS England and NHS Improvement new LeDeR Policy - March 2021 
The new policy will
  • look at the life of a person as well as their death
  • also now extend to include all people who are autistic – who do not have learning disability
  • ensure that all eligible people from an ethnic minority background receive a focused review
  • mean the families of anyone aged four and over with a learning disability or autism can request one.
The new policy has been co-produced with bereaved family members, people with a learning disability, health and social care professionals and people from across the LeDeR workforce. NHSX also commissioned self-advocacy groups to work on some of the challenging questions about the future of the programme and Ipsos Mori to do a piece of research on the views of stakeholders.

The policy focusses Integrated Care System (ICS) activity on delivering actions from reviews and ensures that reviewers work in teams and are given dedicated time and capacity to complete reviews within 6 months. It will serve as a guide to professionals working in all parts of the health and social care system on their roles in delivering LeDeR. From September LeDeR will be incorporated into the routine quality reporting arrangements of the ICS and not sit separately from it, to improve learning and action locally.

This policy outlines a number of changes to existing LeDeR processes such as the new review process which will need to be implemented by local systems in line with the changes to the web-based platform which will go-live on 1 June 2021. Other changes, such as staffing models and local governance arrangements will need to change in line with the development of integrated care systems and relevant human resources processes. By 1 April 2022 all changes within this policy must be implemented by integrated care systems.

The policy is available in full and also in easy read.
⇨ This is the link to the main LeDeR page with the policy link.

Department of Health and Social Care
Deaths of Care Workers
The DHSC has written to all local Authorities and Social care providers asking employers to tell them about the deaths of all workers in the health and social care sector, including volunteers
⇨ Find out more

Under-Represented Groups in Surveys
Ipsos have published their findings on the research about which groups are under-represented in the DHSC Adult Social Care Survey and the Survey of Adult Carers in England
⇨ Find out more and read the report

Mental Health Act (MHA) Reform
The Mental Health Act consultation ran until 21 April 2021 and the government are now analysing the responses. The changes are based on 4 principles that have been developed with people with lived experience of the MHA. They are:
  • choice and autonomy – ensuring service users’ views and choices are respected
  • least restriction – ensuring the MHA’s powers are used in the least restrictive way
  • therapeutic benefit – ensuring patients are supported to get better, so they can be discharged from the MHA
  • the person as an individual – ensuring patients are viewed and treated as individuals.
⇨ Read some useful and interesting blogs and articles.
 News from the sector  

MacIntyre’s ‘Dying to Talk’ Project
The charity has been funded to look at ways to help people with a learning disability have conversations about end of life care, dying and death, and increase knowledge and confidence in talking about death and dying among people with a learning disability, their families and their staff, particularly for people who also have dementia. Their vision is for all people with a learning disability to live a life that makes sense to them.

On their website there are many free resources such as videos and easy read documents on topics including;
  • advance care planning
  • introduction to end of life care
  • easy Read – my plan for when I die
  • getting a timely diagnosis of dementia
  • eating and drinking/swallowing difficulties
  • emotional impact of Dementia: supporting peers and friends
  • wakefulness - disturbed sleep.
They also have a monthly Health, Dementia and Wellbeing newsletter which you can sign up to.
Beyond The Spectrum - Creative Writing for Autistic Writers 
‘Beyond the Spectrum’ was a pilot project connecting professional, autistic poets and authors with autistic people from age 11 upwards across the East Midlands. From December 2020 to March 2021 they ran a series of 32 free, online, weekly creative writing workshops for autistic writers from beginners upwards. There were two groups of under 18’s and two adults’ groups, facilitated by published autistic writers.

Participants were initially drawn from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The team of autistic poets and authors inspired participants to develop new skills and express themselves creatively, as well as establish new contacts and networks. They hope to find funding to build on this pilot project by expanding into other localities from September 2021.

The work in these anthologies' challenges deficit orientated myths about autistic people; that they are not imaginative, that they don’t have, or can’t express empathy, and so are not capable of making a positive contribution to society. They make powerful and compelling reading and turn these myths, and many others like them, on their heads. The work produced is publicly available and with titles like ‘ode to marmite’, ‘confessions of a stimmer’, ‘orange safety’ and ‘the case of the gluten farter’ they promise to offer insight and entertainment in equal measure!

⇨ Find out more about the full project details, Anthologies and link to Youtube video

Contact Trevor Wright at
Seldom Heard Project - Seeking views of those with severe and profound learning disabilities
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) and the Tizard Centre have been developing ways to improve how we seek the views of people with severe and profound learning disabilities. In recognition of the need to get better at seeking the views of children and adults with learning disabilities and with more complex communication challenges, NHS England has funded the Seldom Heard project.

⇨ Find out more about the brand new Seldom Heard Webpage and blogs.

For further information and regular project updates, you can sign up to the Seldom Heard email network by emailing
British Association of Social Workers - Homes not hospital resources 
Key documents to support social workers to work preventatively, strengthen legal literacy and more specialised ways of working to avoid admissions to hospital, support, advocate and challenge on behalf of people currently in assessment and treatment units or restrictive settings to enable a return to home as soon as possible.

The BASW England Homes not Hospitals Launch of Key Webinar took place on the 10 May 2021. The documents and webinar recording are now available.

If you would like to find out more about the work that BASW England is doing as part of this campaign and would like to get involved, then please contact

Visit the BASW website to find out about upcoming event.

Inclusion North: Stop people dying too young
A group from Inclusion North are asking for Coroners, the Police, the Care Quality Commission, health and social care organisations, human rights organisations, NHS England and all MPs to take action to make sure that every death that should be reported to a coroner. In 2021, the group worked with journalist George Julian to help people with a learning disability and their families understand what a Coroner does and what an inquest is.New resources include two Easy Read leaflets (“What does a Coroner do” and “What is an Inquest”) videos of group members talking about their experience of inquests, and a BBC news interview with George Julian.

⇨ Find out more
Hugs on the Horizon 
This short article looks at why the lack of physical touch has been so hard for some people and why we are craving physical contact with loved ones. It also reminds us to remember to continue to follow government guidance and to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the community, and to be considerate and caring of those who aren't yet able or feel confident to hug yet.

⇨ Find out more
Coronavirus and People with Learning Disabilities Study
As mentioned in the previous newsletter, Professors Chris Hatton and Richard Hastings are leading the biggest year-long study about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with learning disabilities and what makes for better outcomes. There have been lots of studies done on the pandemic but not many that people with learning disabilities can easily be involved in.

There will be three ‘Waves’ of data collection over a 12-month period. Wave 1 data were collected between December 2020 and February 2021.

⇨ View the results
Seeability – Specialist support, accommodation and eye care help for people with learning disabilities, and autistic people 
Did you know? 2 million people in the UK are living with significant sight loss and half of this sight loss is avoidable. Everyone can have a sight test/eye health check which can also detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, diabetes or hight blood pressure which can be treated if found soon enough.

Seeability are keen to raise awareness of the prevalence of sight loss amongst adults and children with learning disabilities and autism and that regrettably, all too often, they remain undetected, ignored, or just not considered severe enough to cause much concern.

Scott Watkin, Head of engagement, Lisa Hopkins, CEO and Emily Stewart, Influencer, present the Seeability Model for investing in people with learning disabilities. Scott sits on the Leadership Team and supports his team to bring authenticity and integrity to the work of the organisation.

Skills for Care will be doing more work about this as we prepare for National Eye Health Week (NEHW); 20 to 26 September 2021.

⇨ Find out more
National Development Team for Inclusion – Advocacy Review and Training 
NDTI has published their Scoping Exercise Report entitled “An overview of Advocacy Delivery in Relation to Personal Health Budgets and other health funded support”.
⇨ Read the executive summary
⇨ Read the full report

Following on from this scoping exercise, a training programme has been developed for advocates, covering continuing healthcare, personal health budgets, section 117 after care and other health funding processes. The programme starts in July.

⇨ Find out more
Learning Disability England - Coming out of lockdown 
On the 22 February 2021, the government launched the roadmap for coming out of lockdown. The most recent stage of lifting of restrictions came into effect on 17 May 2021. NWTDT Pathways have made a video about the rules and Cornwall People First have produced an easy read guide. Both can be accessed on the Learning Disability England.

⇨ Find out more

Inclusion North have also developed an easy read guide and accompanying video
⇨ Easy read about the new rules
⇨ Watch the video here

Books Beyond Words - Cancer 
‘Books beyond words’ have published some more free wordless stories – the new resources are about Cancer Screening.

⇨ View the resources
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