22nd November 2017

This Challenging Behaviour National Strategy / professional senate meeting was held on Wednesday 22nd November at Park Crescent conference Centre, London. The day focussed on considering aspects of planning, skilling and supporting the workforce to enable people with learning disabilities to be supported effectively. 75 people attended the meeting including members of the Professional Senate, family carers, researchers and service providers and practitioners.

The day started with an overview of the workforce issues.  This included a showing a film of a person with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges being supported by support staff in an ordinary activity.   This illustrated that even in a simple task, support workers use a range of skills to effectively support individuals with a range of behaviours described as challenging.  Other key note speakers included John Devapriam (Clinical Director, Leicestershire Partnership Trust and National Professional Advisor, CQC) who provided information on workforce and Learning Disability service models, Jim Thomas (Skills for Care) who showed a presentation entitled Workforce Strategy – it’s all about People and Richard  Hastings (Professor of Psychology and Education, University of Warwick) who shared the results from the Who’s Challenging Who Randomised Controlled Trial. 


The rest of the day involved eight workshops in which participants chose two to attend to explore specific issues related to workforce and what needs to be done. Workshops  covered the following topics:-

·         Achieving a steady workforce in unsteady times- which included considering how to raise the profile of the support worker role and the identification of some joint work between providers and skills for care.

·         Social worker workforce : working in partnership-best practice models of social work were considered and discussed.  

·         Workforce planning : workforce plan in Cumbria and the North east-  the planning and development of a strategic workforce approach for the development of skills and knowledge of staff and families in supporting people with behaviour that challenge was shared and consideration given on  how this can be replicated in difference areas.

·         Tools for safer staffing- the tools available for workforce planning, how to use these effectively and the need to share information with TCPs was discussed

·         Skills and training needs of practitioners who use PBS to support children : survey findings-  survey findings were shared and implications for future workforce training and support discussed.

·         Practice leadership- the complexity of the frontline managers role was discussed and the need for research evidence for practice leadership in developing staff skills and motivation in supporting people with learning disability.  Actions were agreed on how this could be addressed.

·         Introducing STOMP in adult social care- consideration was given on how to tackle the over-medication of adults with learning disabilities in social care services.  It was also highlighted that Stomp needs to be relevant for children. 

·         PBS standards: implications for workforce and the role of CQC- priority PBs standards were identified in the workshop, that will be presented to CQC in respect of ‘Improving the quality of Positive Behavioural Support’.: the standards for service providers and teams’.

Key concrete actions were identified and agreed in each workshop to take the work forward.   These actions are included in the table attached.  In addition,  attendees committed to individual actions to take learning  back to local areas and develop specific local pieces of work around workforce. 

The planned outcomes of the day as below were met: -


  •  Heard from people with learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging and / or their families about workforce issues
  • Identified examples of good practice in planning, skilling and supporting the workforce, to learn the components that are needed to be able to replicate this across organisations
  • Worked together to identify and tackle workforce issues by considering the following questions :-
    • Do we have the right people and enough of the right people to support people to have good lives?
    • How can we ensure we recruit the right people?
    • How do we skill the workforce to be able to effectively support people to have good lives?
    • How do we support people in the workforce?
    • How do we ensure the workforce is effective and making a difference to people with learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging? 
  • Identified  opportunities for working together to develop a work plan with actions and timescales to take the shared learning forward into practice.

Feedback from the event has been highly positive with the majority of sessions rated as very useful.  Many comments received included how valuable the event had been in developing knowledge on specific issues / gaining awareness of available resources / identifying actions to take the work forward.  

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