UK Government response to "No voice unheard, no right ignored"

The Department of Health has published the UK Government's response to the consultation "No voice unheard, no right ignored". The consultation looked at how to strengthen the rights of people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions, focusing on how people can live independently in their communities and make choices in their lives.

"No voice unheard, no right ignored" was put together because not enough progress had been made to transform the care of people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions - principally to relocate them from inpatient units to community-based care - as promised in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal.

Reducing inpatient numbers, and reliance on inpatient care, remains a key goal of the revitalised Transforming Care Programme for system-wide change. The consultation highlighted stark variability in commissioning approaches and in resulting outcomes across the country. This reflected the fact that some commissioners have failed to grasp and act on the urgency of putting in place suitable community provision. Reasons for the urgent need to plan, design and deliver the right services include:

  • growing evidence that, over time, the right care and support in the community can reduce the incidence of behaviour that challenges services and, in turn, reduce costs to the NHS and other parts of the public sector, such as the criminal justice system, and
  • increasing demand - by 2030 the number of adults aged 70+ with learning disabilities using social care (and also very likely to be using health services) is expected to double.

The response sets out the Government's proposals with an overall aim to make sure that the "rights, incentives, responsibilities and duties in the system ensure that change is delivered everywhere. The expectation and focus will be on delivering better outcomes for individuals and families, alongside greater efficiency and value for the taxpayer."

In the document's foreword, Minister of State for Community and Social Care Alistair Burt explains the Government's aim is that "people lead as fulfilling and independent lives as they can, and that they have the support to live independently when possible. This requires a step change. Services, and wider society, should first and foremost see the person and their potential. This means a profound shift from focussing on what people can't do - to enabling and supporting what they can. For some people, being in employment will be a key indicator of success."

Details of the original consultation and the Government's response are available on the Department of Health website.

  • Gov response to No Voice Unheard : PDF
  • Gov response to No Voice Unheard_easyread : PDF