News After Winterbourne


Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation comment on the lack of progress since Winterbourne View

Posted December 2013

Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation comment on “The Learning Disability Census”, and “Winterbourne View: Transforming Care – One Year On”, which were announced today (13 December 2013).  Both were commissioned in the wake of physical and psychological abuse suffered by people with a learning disability at Winterbourne View Hospital which was exposed by a Panorama investigation broadcast in 2011. 

In a letter published today in the Telegraph and on the Mencap website the families of the victims of Winterbourne View, families of others who have been in similar places, and supporting organisations expressed their concern at the lack of progress made.

In particular it has been revealed today that:

  • There is barely any change in the number of people with a learning disability in inpatient units since 2010.  In the 2010 Census for England there were found to be 3,376 people and in 2013 the number is 3,250.
  • 60% (1949) of these people have been in units for one year or more.  Almost a quarter have been in five years or more
  • In the South West over half of people are in units 100Km or more from home (80 people).  In the North East just under 8.8% of people are in units 100Km or more from home (29 people)

Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive of Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, Chief Executive of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, commented:

 “Finally, The Learning Disability Census Report, which shows how many people with a learning disability across the country are still in places like Winterbourne View, has been published. What it reveals is alarming – that the pace of progress has been distressingly slow.  This is undermining the confidence of families in the government process as they are increasingly concerned it will continue to fail to protect their loved ones.

It is now two and half years since the Winterbourne View scandal and the census and progress report show nothing has changed.  Many people with a learning disability are still in in-patient units hundreds of miles away from their homes and many have been there for over a year or more.  We recently found out that 13 people who were at  Winterbourne View are still in in-patient units and the census reveals that this is only the tip of the iceberg.  If the Government cannot get it right for even the 48 people who were at Winterbourne View  what chance is there for the 3,250 people stuck in similar units?

This is shocking. We have been granted a once in a lifetime opportunity post Winterbourne View to get care right.  If the Government and local areas don’t stop dithering, we will miss this unique opportunity.  In so doing, they continue to fail not only people with a learning disability, but everyone who saw or heard about what happened at Winterbourne View and demanded change.”  

For more information, please download the full press statement.  

CB-NSG core members places available for providers

Posted November 2013

Following a review of provider representatives on the Challenging Behaviour – National Strategy Group (CB-NSG) we are now inviting applications from providers to apply to become a core CB-NSG member.

We are delighted to announce that places for 2 providers are available for provider organisations. To apply please complete and return the application form by Friday 10th January 2014.

We are seeking applicants who can:

  • Demonstrate that they provide community based support and services to people with learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging.
  • Demonstrate best practice and innovation in the services and support delivered.
  • Demonstrate the involvement of people with learning disabilities and families in a range of ways in their support and services.
  • Provide evidence of positive feedback from the people who use their services/support.
  • Actively contribute to the work of the CB-NSG by attending the 2 annual meetings and deliver work from the action plans that arise from this.
  • Link to other relevant projects and networks.

All applications will be reviewed by the CB-NSG steering group.

Following the allocation of the two places, applications to providers will be closed until February 2016.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Two and a half years after Winterbourne: Are the 48 people now safe?

Posted November 2013

It’s been two and a half years since the Panorama programme but from contact with families we know that some people who were at Winterbourne view are still in units and far from home.

Along with Mencap, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation wants to know what has happened to the 48 people who were in Winterbourne View and how many people are still in units like it up and down the country.

Local areas have until June 2014 to move people currently in units like Winterbourne View back to their local communities and we want to know how they’re doing. We’ve put together some key questions and tips and we’re asking everyone to get involved in finding out how many people are still in units and when they will finally move out. We want everyone to have access to this information.

For more information and to find out how to get involved and make sure change happens in your local area click here

Early Intervention Project 

Posted November 2013

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) is working with the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) on a 3 year project funded by the Department of Health. The Early Intervention Project will look at the emerging evidence base for early intervention and how using methods such as Positive Behaviour Support can reduce the severity and frequency of challenging behaviour and enable individuals to remain within their communities. 

The project will not deliver early intervention itself; the aim is to facilitate improved early intervention across the country.  The first stage of the project will be to map current activity to identify: good practice; effective interventions and resources; gaps in provision; and barriers to early intervention.

The project has already begun scoping out a vision of what good support looks like by holding its first workshop with experts for driving change at the CB-NSG meeting in October. The project also plans to hold 4 more workshops over the next 3 months to gain the views of families, children and young people, professionals, and commissioners.

The second stage of the project (years 2 & 3) will involve working closely with key experts and stakeholders to develop resources, training and commissioning strategies to promote early intervention for children with learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges.

To find out more please visit the Early Intervention Project webpages or contact the project manager at:,Tel: 07436 102778 

4th October 2013 CB-NSG Meeting

Posted October 2013

The Challenging Behaviour-National Strategy Group meeting, held on the 4th October, focused on ‘Making a difference locally’.

The meeting opened with a talk from Emma the sister of Ben who lived at Winterbourne View. This was followed by a number of talks and question and answer sessions with speakers from areas of good practice. Speakers discussed how to develop the local market and local housing for people who have learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge.

Workshops and action planning sessions also took place facilitated by advisors from the Joint Improvement Team asking for input and action planning focused on working with providers and developing local expertise. Information was also shared in workshops on a new Department of Health funded project on Early Intervention and a Skills for Care project focussing on commissioning workforce development and physical intervention.

For full details and links to the presentations, click here 

Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation Joint Statement 2 years after Winterbourne View

Posted May 2013

Joint statement from Jan Tregelles, acting chief executive of learning disability charity Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, founder of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation:

"Given the terrible abuse and neglect uncovered almost two years ago at Winterbourne View, it is unacceptable that people with a learning disability are still receiving poor care. Progress to address these failings has been too slow.

We know that there are many people with a learning disability in assessment and treatment units, like Winterbourne View, who have experienced abuse and neglect. Their families are still fighting to bring their loved ones closer to home. Local commissioners have a responsibility to take urgent action to develop support and services to make this happen."

Click here to download the full statement

8th March 2013 CB-NSG Meeting

Posted March 2013

The Challenging Behaviour-National Strategy Group meeting, held on the 8th March 2013, focused on the refresh of ‘Unified Approach’ and how policy can be transformed into action.

The meeting opened with a talk from Ann Earley, the mother of Simon, who lived at Winterbourne View. The meeting then consisted of a number of talks in which research was presented on the costs and benefits of early intervention and the Special Educational Needs reforms. Further speakers outlined plans for the ‘Unified Approach Refresh’ inviting attendees to take part in group work.

Information was also shared about the Department of Health review ‘Transforming care’ and how this can be put in to action along with information on the Joint Improvement Board, and how to make service specifications work. The final presentation discussed how to break down barriers and support people placed in out of area specialist hospitals to return to their local communities.

For full details and links to the presentations, click here 

Response to the Department of Health final report

Posted December 2012

Joint statement from Mark Goldring, chief executive of Mencap and Vivien Cooper, founder of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation:

"The horrific abuse uncovered at Winterbourne View shone a spotlight on a care system that has failed some of the most vulnerable people with a learning disability. In today's report, the Government shows that it has listened to families and campaigners by committing to a national programme of change.

But words are not enough. To achieve this, commissioners in local government and the health service must take urgent, joint action to develop local services, provide support to children and families from early on, and ensure that no one else is sent away. The many hundreds of people with a learning disability who are still far from home, in institutions like Winterbourne View, must now be able to quickly return to their communities, to be close to their loved ones.

The report and concordat are a commitment to make this happen. The Government will be judged on whether change takes place across the country, with vulnerable people with a learning disability finally getting the support they need, close to home.”

To find out more, click here 

Government launches NHS mandate

Posted November 2012

On the 13th November 2012, the Government launched its mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board. 

This sets out the NHS’ goals for the next two years and reaffirms the Government’s commitment to an NHS that is available to all, based on clinical need rather than ability to pay, and is able to meet patients’ needs and expectations.

For the first time, two key objectives, ensuring people have a positive experience of care and preventing premature deaths, refer specifically to people with learning disabilities.

These objectives are urgent priorities. Mencap statistics show that people with a learning disability are 58 times more likely to die before the age of 50 and four times as many people with a learning disability die of preventable causes than the general population.

Following the Challenging Behaviour Foundation and Mencap’s lobbying over the abuse suffered by people at Winterbourne View, the charities welcome the inclusion of people with learning disabilities in the mandate and the commitment to provide people with learning disabilities with safe, appropriate, high quality care.

Emma Harrison, Assistant Director at Mencap, said:

“We are particularly delighted that the Department of Health has recognised that where possible services are local and that people remain in their communities. While much still remains to be done to improve health outcomes for people with learning disabilities Mencap feels this is a big step forward.”

To view the mandate, click here

Keep in contact with the CB-NSG

You can now become an associate member of the CB-NSG by e-mailing your request to become an associate to: or Tel: 01634 838739. You will be added to a mailing list to receive information from the CB-NSG by e-mail on a regular basis. Associate members can input to the work of the group via telephone, post, e-mail and the CBF website. Associate membership is free of charge.

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