There are approximately 1,125 people known to Dudley Council with a learning disability and autism (2021 Dudley Council data), this is closely aligned to the prevalence data (PANSI) which estimate that Dudley has a population of 1,037 people with moderate to severe learning disabilities aged 18-64.
Data for the Dudley population of people with Autism cannot currently be separated, however PANSI estimates that there are approximately 1,853 adults with autism projected to be living in Dudley though how many of these people would have a need for care and support is unknown.
Dudley has an increasing demand for support, information and advice from people with Autism. Dudley Autism Strategy 2019-2025 is a joint health and social care strategy that sets out the vision, priorities and plan for supporting people of all ages who have autism in Dudley. The plan identifies 7 priorities:
- Use data effectively to support service planning for people with Autism
- Ensure reasonable adjustments enable people to access services they need
- Transition planning - supporting people during all periods of transition
- Training on autism - ensuring autism training is delivered widely across all partners agencies
- Review the diagnostic Pathway
- Ensure the provision of post diagnostic support
- Improve the access to information advice and support
Dudley has a learning disability partnership board and a separate Autism Partnership board where partners across the Dudley borough and Black Country meet to consider how needs are being met, challenge agencies where inequality and issues arise and promote the rights and needs of people with learning disabilities and autism.
24% of all adult social spend within the social care market is supported living, 90% of this c.£19M is spend within the Dudley Disabilities service predominantly supporting people with learning disabilities and or Autism.
There are approximately 40 different providers contracted to deliver supported living for people with disabilities.
Our vision is to ensure people with learning disabilities and or autism are enabled and or supported to lead fulfilling lives that meet their needs and outcomes. Dudley is particularly focused on promoting strength-based approaches to both assessment and the delivery of care and support where required and reduce the overreliance on paid service and traditional restrictive models of care. Promoting independence and self-determination with a wider range of opportunities and services is a key strategic commissioning priority.
In order to achieve this vision, it will be essential to work in partnership, to review and to plan services, whilst engaging with people with disabilities, their families and supporters, providers of services and wider health and social care partners on how best to meet needs and achieve outcomes.
The current disabilities market has evolved over many years with a mix of provision and approaches, some historic traditional services and some more innovative approaches. The market comprises many providers with a similar offer and though we recognise there is a strong value base and commitment in the market, we have identified we need to have more outcome focused and evidence-based services to ensure resources are used to best effect and people are supported to move on to least restrictive services where possible and appropriate. There is currently no formal measurement against outcomes within the market that supports understanding of what is being delivered and what outcomes are being achieved.
Dudley Council intends to adopt a social model approach to supporting people who have a disability, using a strengths-based approach and understanding that often people are disabled by barriers in society, limited opportunities based on custom and practice, rather than by impairments or health conditions. This ambition is important for all people supported in Dudley but especially so for young people as they prepare for adulthood, ensuring that plans and support promotes independence and encourages people to achieve meaningful and fulfilling lives locally and have equality of opportunities that their non-disabled peers enjoy.
During 2022 Dudley met with and listened to young people, parents, carers and professionals supporting young people as they prepare for adulthood. Engagement and consultation events produced a lot of really important information that has helped the council establish an exciting and transformational plan to deliver more opportunities locally.
These initiatives and aspirations include the development of a specialist hub through the redesign of an existing service and ambitious plans for a Complex Needs Foyer model.
- A new supported living framework will be formally tendered in 2024/2025 and will include a short term framework for enhanced complex and forensic needs and a long term framework
- Dudley Council will formally competitively procure all existing supported living provision via the new framework once established to align with outcome measures and expectations within the next 2 years and ensure compliance with REACH standards and current best practice
- We will explore and consider pilots for the development and introduction of Individual service funds in Dudley
- We are committed to actively promoting the development of the PA market and increased take up of Direct payments and personal budgets, including personal health budgets
- Develop local provision that meets the needs of adults with disabilities including young adults with complex needs, people with autism and people who are or may be at risk of entering criminal justice system
Messages for the Market
Key priorities are for services, supports and opportunities that meet people's needs that:
- are delivered locally and reduce the number of out of area health and social placements
- ensure a strength-based approach that enables people maintain their community connections and lead fulfilling lives; having everyday opportunities and experiences and not live in 'service land'
- reduce inequalities and improve access to support, services and opportunities enabling people to live longer and healthier lives
- support young people as they prepare for adulthood to have opportunities locally, accessing education, vocational services, employment support and living independently support to fulfil their needs and aspirations
- ensure the provision of appropriate accommodation and support as people age so they may remain in their homes and retain their independence for as long as possible
- Maximise independence and use new innovations including everyday technology and more disability specific technology
- Extend peoples contact and presence with their community outside of paid staff
- Promote employment and vocational opportunities