CQC commissioned to review use of restraint, seclusion and segregation for autistic people, and people with a learning disability and/or mental health condition.
Numerous reports set out significant concerns about the failure to provide people with learning disabilities and autistic people with the right support in the right place at the right time – and the long-term impact and harm this causes. The Care Quality Commission have today (25th March) published an update on progress since publication of their ‘Out of sight – who cares?’ report written in October 2020.
Read today’s report from CQC here
Despite the then Minister for Care Helen Whately accepting in full or in principle all the report recommendations in July 2021, the CQC finds there has been a disgraceful lack of progress in improving outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities and autistic people.
The CQC highlights the following key findings:
- Not enough progress has been made. Of the 17 recommendations for change made in the 2020 report, they found that only 4 have been partially met and 13 are considered not met. There are still too many people in hospital for too long.
- The report found that restraint is still commonplace in mental health hospitals in England, including for people with a learning disability or autistic people – ranging from physical or chemical restraint to isolation (segregation).
- CQC found that not enough people are able to have a home of their own with the right support in place due to a lack of housing options
- There is also a lack of appropriate community support for people with a learning disability and autistic people, with community support being especially difficult to secure for autistic people.
- There has not been enough progress in improving commissioning. Commissioners are not always working in partnership with people, their families and different agencies and the focus remains on fitting people into available services with insufficient focus on designing the support that the person needs.
Restraint in schools/ educational settings
In 2020 the CQC made recommendations for further work beyond the scope of their report, including a ‘cross-departmental review of restrictive practice for children with special educational needs and disabilities, including schools and anywhere children are living away from home.’
Today’s report notes that the Department for Education is considering recent recommendations on restraint from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (published in June 2021), including definitions of restrictive practices.
We support the CQC’s view that this area of work needs to be taken forward urgently. The media continue to report cases of inappropriate and harmful use of seclusion and restraint in schools. (See Pupil abuse in special school secure rooms filmed on CCTV – BBC News).
Progress report findings
The update report published today finds lack of progress in all of these areas.
These findings are not a surprise to individuals with learning disabilities, autistic people and their families, who are living with the consequences of the failures. Despite the issues being well-documented it remains unclear who is accountable for the lack of progress. As one family carer put it “There are multiple accountabilities – which means that no one is actually accountable”.
We strongly support the CQC in their call for this area of work to be taken forward urgently by Government. Strong national leadership, along with regional implementation support is required to transform support and services for individuals, with appropriately qualified commissioners investing in early intervention and community support and services that meet individual needs.
In 2012 we worked with families and identified all of the areas that needed action. See our Out of Sight report available here: Out of Sight Report (challengingbehaviour.org.uk)
Support from the CBF
Family Support Service
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this statement, you can call the Family Support Service on 0300 666 0126
Or email us at email@example.com
We are open at the following times:
Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5pm
Friday: 9am – 3pm
We offer information about challenging behaviour to anyone who provides support to a child, young person or adult with a severe learning disability. We can also signpost you to other specialist organisations and sources of information.
Please note we are a small support service so you may not be able to get support straight away. We will support families with urgent concerns as a priority.
Professionals are also welcome to contact the CBF.
Resources on our website
Please consult the following information sections on our website, for information sheets and signposting:
Helen Whately, Minister for Care, responds to CQC's 'Out of Sight- Who Cares?' report published October 2020.