HC Deb 08 May 2002 vol 385 cc259-60W
Jane Griffiths

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking"to encourage the involvement of the(a) independent and (b) charitable sectors in the provision of care for adults with learning disabilities. [53602]

Jacqui Smith

Our policy for improving services for people with learning disabilities is set out in the White Paper "Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21 Century" published in March 2001. It is based on the four principles of rights, independence, choice and inclusion. We recognise that effective partnerships are key to the delivery of our policy. We work closely with all the key interests including the charitable and independent sector to provide new opportunities for people with learning disabilities to lead full and active lives.

"Valuing People" required local councils to establish Learning Disability Partnership Boards by 31 October 2001. Partnership Boards are required to ensure that local independent providers and the voluntary sector are fully engaged in their work. The "Valuing People" support team is working with Partnership Boards to help build strong partnerships locally.

Representatives of voluntary organisations were actively involved in developing the White Paper and we continue to work with them in its implementation through their membership of the Learning Disability Task Force. We also provide funding from the Implementation Support Fund announced in "Valuing People" and from the discretionary programme of section 64 grants (approximately £1.3 million in 2002–03) from the Department to voluntary organisations to further our objective of achieving social inclusion for people with learning disabilities.

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