Jonathan Senker, chief executive of VoiceAbility

Jonathan talks about how local, specialist support can improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges.

The crimes and abuse committed against people at Winterbourne View rightly brought the lives of people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges to public and political attention.

However, the issues go far wider and deeper than any one particular service.

Estimates suggest that there are 1.2 million people with a learning disability in England, and between 10-17% in this population have behaviour that challenges.

Behaviour is challenging if it is harmful to the person or others around them or restricts the person’s life.

Far too many people do not receive the individualised support that they need. I’ve seen first-hand the results of this, which can be devastating for the individual and their families.

But, I am also inspired by the positive lives people lead when they are listened to and receive the right assistance.

For these reasons, I was pleased to be appointed as chair of the NICE guideline committee on how services should be designed and delivered for people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges.

Improving leadership, planning and coordination together with a focus on local support lie at the heart of our draft recommendations.

We advise that there should be a single lead commissioner responsible for health and social care services for people with learning disabilities. This person should have specific expertise about people whose behaviour is challenging.

A named coordinator can help make sure that the person is at the centre of well-planned and delivered services, we also suggest.  Read more of the article here