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 McGowen Mandatory Training in Learning Disability and Autism  
People from the trial partnerships have now met as the ‘Operational Delivery Group’ and begun to plan their work. HEE have easy read summaries of all their plans and lists of the member organisations in each partnership which will be available on their website shortly.

More information can be found on the Skills for Care website
 News from the sector  

Learning Disability England (LDE) have been given grants by the Department of Health and Social Care to help people and groups cope with Coronavirus
This means that until the end of October 2020 they can share their newsletter and COVID 19 information and training with people who are not members of LDE. To subscribe email them.

This will not give people access to LDE’s wider member benefits and resources. It is just to help with Coronavirus and will end on 31 October 2020. Anyone can become a member and annual individual membership is just £12 for year-round access to their main newsletter plus other benefits.

More information can be found on the LDE website
LDE have also received funding by the Department of Health and Social Care to give small grants to grass roots, user led self-advocacy and family carer groups 
Up to £5000 per organisation will be available to help them during the outbreak and organisations don’t have to be a current member of LDE to apply.

More information on how to apply can be found on the LDE website.
The Challenging behaviour Foundation (CBF) 
CBF continue to produce and update Covid-19 resources which are all available on their Covid-19 Information and Resources Page. This includes
  • Updated Legal FAQs
    If you have any further questions that you would like to raise with the legal panel, please send them to with the subject line LEGAL QUESTION. 
  • Updated ‘Going out Cards’ 
    These now include information about people with learning disabilities not needing to wear a face covering if they cannot tolerate it, but also a line to say that they may not be able to tolerate their supporter/carer wearing a face covering either. 
  • Online Support for Families
  • Report on Impact of Austerity on People with Learning Disabilities
    Rachel Forrester Jones, from the University of Bath has published a report into the impact of austerity cuts on people with learning disabilities. The study was conducted in collaboration with the Tizard Centre, University of Kent. You can read a summary of the report and access the full report on the university website.
  • Family Support Service
    The CBF support service is still running for families of children, young people and adults with severe learning disabilities. If you need information and support or simply a listening ear please call 0300 666 0126 or email

Paradigm “Don’t ever call us ‘unskilled’ again”  
These are the voices of 118 Support Workers (supporting people with a learning disability and/or autism) from across the UK. The majority of the respondents are members of the Gr8 Support Movement.

The report captures their experiences, thoughts, ideas and learning during the pandemic and shares them with the nation and it highlights: 
  • how support workers responded during the pandemic with thoughtfulness, creativity and dedication
  • some key messages and ‘must haves’ for moving forward beyond the pandemic
  • the plea of Support Workers to be valued and recognised as essential and highly skilled members of the Social Care workforce, not just now but as society moves forward. 
To view the full report please visit the Paradigm website.

Paradigm founded The Gr8 Support Movement to connect Direct Support Staff who support people with a learning disability and/or autism across the UK.

This blog tells the story of why The Movement was created: A wish, a growl and a Gr8 Support Movement

It is the first of its kind. It is values-based, thought-provoking, encouraging and highly interactive. It is a movement for change, with the fundamental aim of inspiring members to: 
  • learn and develop so they can be the best they can be
  • take responsibility for their practice and find innovative solutions with those they work with. 

 Update Guidance – Supported living 

COVID-19 guidance for Supported living 6 August - Updated from 13 May
This guidance is designed to update and build on the previous advice to supported living providers, which was withdrawn on 13 May 2020. It sets out: 
  • key messages to assist with planning and preparation in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic so that local procedures can be put in place to minimise risk and provide the best possible support to people in supported living settings. These local procedures may need to be updated to reflect changes in government guidance and advice as the pandemic response changes
  • safe systems of working, including social distancing, respiratory and hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning
  • how infection prevention and control (IPC) and personal protective equipment (PPE) applies to supported living settings. 

CQC and the Restraint Reduction Network (RRN) standards
In their most recent C19 update COVID-19 Update on the 7 August 2020 the CQC have reminded providers that they expect to see all services across health and social care use training in restrictive practices that is certified as complying with the Restraint Reduction Network Standards.

The standards apply to all training that has a restrictive intervention component and provide a benchmark for training in supporting people who are distressed in education, health and social care settings. 

Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme (LeDer) Annual Report 
The report was published in July 2020 and shows people with Learning Disabilities in England continue to die prematurely and from treatable causes of death.

The full report and webinar presentation findings are here and easy read versions here.

LeDer Action from Learning Report 2019/2020 
This report was published July 2020 and includes actions taken at a national level and a number of examples of improvements in local areas from across the country.

⇨ View the full report

Accessible Information Campaign
Accessible information campaign is led by self-advocate campaigner's and supported by Learning Disability England (LDE). This campaign is to make information more accessible for everyone, and they want to press the government to act on its promises about making information accessible.

To find out more please visit the LDE website


Increasing equity in access to social care for people with learning disabilities 
Wednesday 30 September 2020, 14:00 - 16:00 

This webinar aims to explore the idea of fairness or ‘equity’ in the sharing out of social care resources for people with learning disabilities and will discuss how we can investigate this further with research co-produced in collaboration with service users, caregivers and service providers.

The webinar will include:
  • an introduction to ideas about equity in social care for people with learning disabilities
  • an interview with Professor Chris Hatton, a leading expert in the field.
  • a summary of findings from our small project that has explored the available evidence and started to engage people with learning disabilities in thinking about this question
  • a chance to express your views and experiences about this and hear from other participants.
⇨ Register for the webinar

Learning Disability England 
LDE are hosting a range of webinars or online meetings to help people keep informed and in touch during the Covid-19 outbreak. They have on-going webinars on topics such as: Self-Advocates and families supporting each other and Families – Planning for Emergencies. Past webinars include; 

Health and Annual Health Checks 
This webinar was led by Skills for Care and Learning Disability England. It was building on their work with NDTi and VODG on a project to improve access to Annual Health Checks. The session was focused on annual health checks and included some examples of how they can help people despite current Covid restrictions. 


Autism Somerset
Autism Somerset produce a monthly newsletter with masses of useful links, which you can sign up for. In August 2020 it included; 
  • 12 Step Anxiety Program for 16 to 18year old autistic people and for over 19's 
  • Autism, Anxiety and Trauma Zoom Courses and a Free Anxiety Plan 
  • Coping Skills Workshops - Taster Videos 
  • Somerset Community Care Matters - URGENT FUNDRAISING 
  • ADHD Policeman 
  • Sunflower Lanyard Scheme and Face Covering Exemption Card 
  • Anxiety in the Family - Video Podcast Series - "Autism, a Parents Guide" 
  • Burnham-On-Sea Bereavement Support Group Online 
  • Survey links about autism Somerset’s offers.
Some of these links are specific to Somerset and some are national.

Healthy eating video cookbook – Kingston University London 
Individuals with a learning disability are more likely to be overweight than people who do not have a learning disability. The Dietary Approaches for Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity and improved Nutrition for people with learning disabilities (the DAMSON project) provides resources and trains staff to support people with learning disabilities to make healthy food choices and to reduce the risk of obesity and associated health conditions.

The Project have produced a video cookbook showing cooking in real-time and one-day training workshop for staff.

⇨ View the course

The psychology of hand washing
The British Psychological Society has produced a guide which provides lots of detail to help you and the people you support understand more about HOW and WHEN to wash hands, how to plan and be prepared to do so and how to be a good handwashing role model for others.

⇨ View the guide

Tolerating face coverings 
An OT from NHS Grampian has written a short guide with lots of good ideas of alternative face coverings and helping people feel more comfortable with them.

⇨ View the guide

National Autistic Society
The Coronavirus outbreak has disrupted lives across the entire world. The National Autistic Society are sharing real life examples of challenges autistic people and their families are facing.  

⇨ View the examples

Social Care Institute for Excellence
Social Care Institute for Excellence has produced a dynamic set of practice examples with links to quality-checked guidance and resources and is designed to support care home and supported living staff to both find and share examples of COVID-19-related good practice.

Topics include; staff wellbeing, balancing infection control with wellbeing.

⇨ View the resource

Surrey and Boarders Partnership NHS Trust  
Coronavirus: information for people with Learning disabilities – have a YouTube playlist with a set of videos to explain the Coronavirus and its implications for people with Learning Disabilities.  

£62 million to help discharge people with learning disabilities or autism into the community 
The Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has called for a renewed focus to ensure people with learning disabilities or autism are discharged promptly from hospital. Funding will be given to local councils to accelerate people returning to the community and can be spent on costs associated with discharge, including establishing community teams, funding accommodation and staff training. 

⇨ Read the press release

Contracts and support for loaning smartphones and tablets 
‘Your Voice Counts’ in Gateshead and South Tyneside have successfully got funding from their local ‘safer communities’ fund to buy and loan phones and tablets to people with a learning disability to help them stay connected and access essential services without putting themselves at avoidable risk of Covid 19. 

With each person they do a risk / benefit assessment and pre-load the device with the apps they need. Then they use ‘team viewer’ sessions with them to help them learn how to use it.

View the adaptable resource
 Opportunities to get involved  
The following Surveys are available which you or the people and families you support may wish to participate in. 

University study recruiting parents of children with ASD 
Northumbria University are recruiting for a study exploring how caregivers of children with ASD are coping during the COVID-19 lockdown. To take part, you should be aged 18 years or older and be parenting a child aged 3-21 years old with clinically diagnosed ASD, and living at home full time.

⇨ Find out more and take part

Autism friendly changes 
National Autistic Society has created a new poll and are keen to hear your feedback. They want to hear from autistic people and their families to determine the most useful changes that shops, and businesses can make to be more autism friendly.

⇨ Find out more and take part

Experiences of challenging behaviour in young children, including those with special needs 
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation is working with the Institute of Health Visitors to find out about the experiences of parents and carers supporting young children who display difficult or challenging behaviours.

This survey is aimed at parents or cares of children with difficult or challenging behaviours aged 11 or under. The results will help to inform training and awareness raising materials for health visitors to help improve their support for families. It would be great if you could promote this survey to your family networks and share on your social media.

⇨ View the survey

Enabling disabled people to have a voice in their care and to receive support during COVID-19 
This study is being undertaken by University of Birmingham and aims to engage third sector and public sector bodies with existing research relating to advocacy to understand, how adjustments in advocacy (between advocates and people who require their support to have a voice in their own care) have been made in response to COVID19.

This study builds on a body of research investigating advocacy to:  
  • ensure that vulnerable people have a voice
  • promote and protect their rights
  • enable them to have greater control and choice in their life.  
⇨ Find out more and details about how to be involved
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