Developing a national framework for local commissioning of community based support for people with learning disabilities

NHS England has asked Sir Stephen Bubb, the Chief Executive of charity leaders network ACEVO, to chair a steering group to develop recommendations for the development of a national framework for local commissioning of community based support for people with learning disabilities. This will specifically respond to the pledge set out in the Winterbourne View Concordat.

The steering group has representativesfrom people with learning disabilities, autism and their families, from voluntary sector partners working in this field, and from senior leaders in health and care.

The first formal meeting of this steering group took place on 28 July in Richmond House, London.

The steering group agreed that by combining the expertise from the people with learning disabilities and their families, the public, voluntary, community and other sectors it will develop recommendations for a national framework for improved services for people with learning disabilities. Local Government, ADASS and provider representatives are included in the group.

The group aims to complete its work by the end of October 2014 and will deliver a report to NHS England that sets out its recommendations for national framework for commissioning services for people with learning disabilities and autism who need specialist support that can be delivered locally.

The main focus of the steering group will be:

  • Recommendations for the development of the national framework – to be locally delivered
  • Looking at innovative commissioning solutions, tools and levers to put the framework in place and co-commissioning with the third sector
  • Looking at financial flows, including finance for capital investment in community development that will allow the national framework to be embedded.
  • Reviewing options for the closure of some in-patients beds to support the delivery of community alternatives.

The steering group will be advised by two expert reference groups:

  • The patient/user/carer reference group; which includes people with learning disabilities, their families and carers; and
  • The social investment reference group; which includes health economists, social investors and housing and support organisations

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “The steering group chaired by Sir Stephen Bubb is responsible for developing a report by the end of October 2014 which will recommend a national framework for the local commissioning of services for people with learning disabilities. The report will be developed with input and guidance from people with learning disabilities and their families, and partners working in this field.  It will create new pathways of care in the community to support people with learning disabilities to live at or near home and not in hospital.”

The group agreed that stakeholder engagement, including with service users and their families, will be a crucial part of this work and that the ultimate goal of the group is to help people with a learning disability to be supported in community settings closer to home. Over the next few weeks we will discuss with user led, self-advocacy, family carer and other interested groups how we can most effectively involve people in the development of this work and the work of the wider NHS England Learning Disability Programme Board.


  1. Chris Hatton says:


    There seems to be a copy and paste error in the notes from the 18 August, where the action following the commissioning framework seems to have been copies by mistake as an action followed the workforce development report. Could the notes be amended please to contain the correct action arising from the workforce development report?

  2. Mary-Ellen Harris says:

    As a user led organisation with a membership of some 250 people who have LD we wish to contribute/participate in the development and roll out of the National Framework. Please advise us how we might do this pleas.

  3. Paul Munim says:

    More work needs to be done to support people with learning disabilities to access existing community organisations for services and support. Many people with learning disabilities are not aware that they can and should access their generic local services and instead are told that specific services are needed for them. This denies local community organisations the opportunity to develop generic services that take into account the needs of people with learning disabilities.

  4. joanne kemp says:

    I know of so many parents who would dearly love their children to be closer to home. There are social, economic and emotional benefits for this to be made a reality. For some children their challanging behaviour is not continuous, from my point of view, I believe that much more could be done to support families caring for children at home, even if it meansthat someone comes in to clean the house once a week or maintains a garden. All these banal things matter to families who find it difficult to cope. We just need assistance not to have our children removed from us.It’s distressing for everyone.

  5. John says:

    Worth reviewing the findings and framework in the joint national report by CSCI, the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission in 2009: “Commissioning services and support for people with learning disabilities”.

  6. Jayne Knight says:

    I am the family advocate for a young man, Chris, who needs to live in the community. We have a plan and have seen housing for him. He will need some capital for his housing but this will then mean a far more cost effective care package, not costing the current £500,000 per year. You would be most welcome to use his plan as an example. There are several families on the I do not need to be locked away I have autism page who you could contact. There is the “bringing us together group” also an excellent group of families. I also know two women with learning disabilities who have been through the system who would be pleased to comment. They have survived and have many recommendations to make.

  7. Katy Black says:

    We urgently need to ensure that disabled people such as Claire Dyer are afforded the right to family life even when having reached adulthood. Planning meetings are constantly held without families, families are excluded from decision making, lied to (as experienced by Mark Neary) and let down by the current system sometimes with tragic consequences, as were the family of Connor Sparrowhawk. There are good models of care out there but a system that is admin heavy and finance focussed is putting the well being of it’s clients last. This has to stop.