This week we went to London to meet the Right Honourable Norman Lamb. Norman works for the government as the Minister for Care and Support.
Norman is responsible for what happens in social care. He is very frustrated at the poor care of people with learning disabilities.
He is very disappointed that the people who promised to improve things in December 2012 have not made much progress.
The Minister told us about his plans for a Green Paper. A Green Paper is what government write to help people debate and discuss the legal and policy changes they are suggesting.
Green Papers do not have any promises to change things in them. It is just for discussion. It is called a Green Paper because it used to be printed on green paper.
There is a team writing the first draft of the Green Paper. They include Sarah and Frances who we met last month. Norman asked us if we would work with them and share our ideas from the LB Bill.
The Minister told us about some of the people with learning disabilities and their families that he had met. Lots of them told him that public bodies (people who work to help look after us) do not listen to them.
This is like what happened to LB, Southern Health did not listen to his family and because of that he died. The LB Bill (clauses 4 to 6) strengthens the family’s right to challenge decisions. The Minister said that the Green Paper would do this too. We think that this is great news and families should be listened to more.
The Minister also talked about the need to change the way that services are commissioned. He felt that changing the law was the only way that people buying services would change their behaviour. He has tried hard to get them to change for two years now and not much has improved. He is going to look at how money can move within the system because he thinks that causes problems at the moment.
It was great to meet the Minister, to hear his plans and to share ours. We look forward to working with the people writing the Green Paper to make sure the key points of the LB Bill, and your views and comments are taken on board. So please keep them coming. The draft LB Bill, is here.