ERIC Number: EJ722884
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Real Power? An Examination of the Involvement of People with Learning Difficulties in Strategic Service Development in Cambridgeshire
Dearden-Phillips, Craig; Fountain, Rob
British Journal of Learning Disabilities, v33 n4 p200-204 Dec 2005
Securing meaningful involvement in service development and provision can be seen as a particular challenge for people with learning difficulties. The National Health Service & Community Care Act [(1990) HMSO, ISBN 0105419907] and more recently Valuing People [Department of Health (2001) "Valuing people: a new strategy for learning disability for the 21st century," Cm5086] have stressed the importance of statutory providers working in partnership with people with learning difficulties, without giving any clear guidance on how to achieve this. This paper is written from the perspective of Speaking Up--a voluntary organisation that has developed the "Parliament" model to give people with learning difficulties a strong collective voice. Through self-advocacy taking the leading role in shaping the way people with learning difficulties and statutory providers communicate, it is argued that the Parliament model enables people with learning difficulties to genuinely influence services. After considering the link between self-advocacy and user-involvement, this paper describes the Parliament as it has developed in Cambridgeshire and discusses whether what has been achieved represents a real increase in power for people with learning difficulties. It concludes with a short assessment of the potential for replicability of the Parliament as a model for other areas of the UK. Craig Dearden-Phillips is Chief Executive of Speaking Up and Rob Fountain a Project Leader with the organisation.
Descriptors: Self Advocacy, Learning Disabilities, Social Support Groups, Mental Retardation, Foreign Countries, Models, Individual Power, Empowerment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)