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Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services

First published:
23 June 2023
Last updated:

As we mark Learning Disability Week, I am updating Members about our  commitments to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. 

In May 2022, I launched our Learning Disability Strategic Action Plan 2022-26 which outlines our strategic learning disability policy priorities. This was followed in October by the Learning Disability Delivery and Implementation Plan 2022-26, which set out the detailed activities underpinning the successful delivery of the strategic priorities and the achievement of positive outcomes for people with learning disabilities.

Together, the plans focus on helping people with learning disabilities to lead active and healthy lives as valued members of society. They contain our commitments to working with individuals, families, groups, and service providers to develop and implement accessible, sustainable and integrated services that fully meet the needs of people with learning disabilities.

It is clear the legacy of the pandemic remains a real concern for many individuals with a learning disability. It also continues to have an impact on organisations providing the services they rely on. On top of this, the cost-of-living crisis has caused significant challenges.

Nevertheless, I am pleased to report that the commitment of our policy makers, delivery partners and stakeholders has meant clear progress has been made in achieving our long-term goals.

On 13 June, the independent Learning Disability Ministerial Advisory Group (LDMAG) considered and agreed a report outlining progress over the first year.

It highlights the successful rollout and implementation of the foundation phase of the Paul Ridd learning disability awareness training – launched on 1 April 2022, more than 27,000 NHS staff have completed the training, which empowers them to recognise the challenges faced by people with learning disabilities accessing health services and ensures reasonable adjustments are made to support this population.

We are now developing more specialised enhanced and advanced training packages across health, social care and education.

I am also pleased to highlight the publication of Guidance for social workers on working with parents with learning disabilities which, together with associated guidance for parents, will help support social workers to better identify and support families where a parent has a learning disability.

There is still more work needed to ensure people with learning disabilities have their needs identified and the right support in place to help them reach their potential and lead fulfilling lives. 

I regularly meet with stakeholder groups, and they want us to continue to encourage a whole systems approach to supporting people with learning disabilities and to make sure we co-produce the design and delivery of services with them.

We will be organising more events across Wales this autumn to listen to stakeholder views. These will help to shape the future direction of policy and contribute to an updated strategic action plan, aligning with our commitment to focus on the issues that matter to people with learning disabilities.