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August 2014 saw the 2013 ESAY figures published. ESAY is a Scottish database complied by the respected Scottish Consortium on Learning Disability on what support and services people with learning disabilities get.
We have been concerned for a while about the decline in number of people with learning disabilities known to Glasgow City Council. We have been given different reasons for a regular annual decline – counting systems, double counting, introduction of personalisation. It turns out that the reason for this is that their new computer system only counts the number of people who actually get support (see Note 1 on page 3). This computer system (Carefirst 6) was introduced in the last couple of years to help manage the personalisation process.
As a result it is likely that Glasgow's computer system is very good tracking the number of people getting Self Directed Support over the last few years. So the Glasgow figures can tell us how many people with learning disabilities get support as personalisation has spread through their services.
In 2009-10 2,724 got a service (2010 ESAY figures page 55)
By 2012-13 it had fallen to just 2,410 getting a service (2013 page 5) – a fall of 314.
This will be made up of people who have been denied a service because they are deemed ineligible for support, those who have died and a reduced number of young people getting a service for the first time.
We can see the evidence for some of this if we look at the ESAY figures for Glasgow.
In 2009-10 204 people with learning disabilities in the 16-20 age group got a service (page 55).
In 2012-13 this had fallen to only 143 . (pages 6 & 7) - a fall of 30%.
There has been a lot of attention to what is called “transition”. Yet this seems to suggest that many young people are not getting support as they move over to adult services. We are not able to be sure exactly what is happening but we do think there need to some explanation of what is going on in Scotland's largest city.
Scotland Against the Care Tax (SACT) has launched a national petition calling on the Scottish Government to abolish charging for social care, the ‘Care Tax,’ as frustration with the failure of COSLA to regulate care charges has led to voluntary sector representatives walking out of the partnership.
The petition calls on the Scottish Government to use powers it already has to abolish care charges throughout Scotland. It has been signed by 29 organisations representing disabled people, people with long-term conditions, older people and carers. Sign the petition here . Download a paper copy to sign and return here
Three years ago COSLA told the Scottish Government it would set up a working group to harmonise charges across Scotland in response to concerns over poor practice. A number disabled people’s representatives have worked with COSLA since 2011 to try and deliver this. Of the 5 third sector organisations represented on the COSLA Working Group 3 have resigned from it this week.
Figures show that over the last three years, care charges have risen on average by 12% with increases in some councils far more than that. Aberdeen City has more than doubled its charging income from disabled people in the last 2 years, while West Dunbartonshire Council has more than trebled their income from the Care Tax.
Nearly every local authority in Scotland charges disabled people for the care they receive. Councils are currently allowed to choose if and what to charge. Support for getting up and going to bed, eating and drinking, and seeing family and friends are all things that can be charged for.
There is no upper limit on what councils can charge for care. This means some disabled people are charged 100% of their own, already severely limited, income for the care they are entitled to.
We are really pleased to tell you that a number of groups have helped to from the Learning Disability Alliance in England. There is no direct connection with the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland but they too will be a campaigning body and we look forward to working with them on any areas where we have joint concerns.
The Campaign for a Fair Society in England has come together with three other organisations to establish the Learning Disability Alliance:
- People First England, which represents people with learning disabilities
- Bringing Us Together, which represents families
- Housing & Support Alliance, which represents community organisations and professionals
The Scottish Government is changing how NHS Scotland and Councils work together to deliver adult health and social care services. It wants to make sure that people get the right services at the right time and that people’s money is spent on what people need.
The Scottish Government has brought in a new law which will make every council and health board form new Health and Social Care Partnerships. NHS Boards and Councils will share the responsibility for these partnerships.
People from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities are less likely to get a service than people from a White Scottish background.
While the census shows that that BME people make up 5.2% of the Scottish population, the national database on learning disability, ESAY show only 1.24% of people with learning disabilities are from a BME background.
There are some wide regional variations.
Many BME communities are well established in Scotland and are likely to have a similar incidence of learning disability in the population. As a result there has been a lack of clarity about what is going on. Fortunately a recent report from the Action Group on their work with people with learning disabilities has helped to provide some explanations.
BEMAS Transitions has worked with 50 young adults and their families since 2011. This is one of the largest projects of its kind in Scotland. The project was to help young people to set goals and to try and make them happen. In so doing, they would learn more about the barriers that people from BME communities face.
What they found makes worrying reading. Among the key barriers the project found were:
Lack of Access to Information and Support - Almost all disabled people and their families have a problem knowing what services and supports are available. This is made worse for people from BME communities. Some have English as a second language. Others have come from another country with very different social infrastructure systems and different terminology. Previous experiences of discrimination when using other services has made others fearful of dealing with a new organisation.