Government publish their response to JCHR reports and recommendations

The government response shows a lack of commitment to concrete actions.

View: Government policy paper

Radical change to the system

Yesterday (22/10/20) the government published their response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights reports published in November 2019 and June 2020. Both the JCHR reports made a very strong case for radical change to the system, to ensure that young people with learning disabilities and young autistic people no longer suffer human rights abuses. 

The government response shows a lack of commitment to concrete actions. Although the government agree with many of the principles, they have not demonstrated how they will be acting on them beyond their existing lines of work (which we know aren’t effective). Monthly data published by NHS Digital shows that there has been little progress towards targets set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

During Covid 19 and for many years beforehand families have been telling us and the government about the challenges facing children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and their families. 

The CBF Statement

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation is therefore disappointed to see that the Government feels it is already doing enough via the Transforming Care programme and other established work programmes and has not seen fit to establish a Number 10 unit or to strengthen the law to protect children, young people and families.   

Vivien Cooper, CEO of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation said: 

“We welcome the recognition that families are key to a child’s quality of life; that children should stay close to home and that families should be informed of restraint or seclusion.  However, the caveats attached to each of the commitments in response to recommendations give unscrupulous or poor providers immediate get out clauses to continue practice as usual.

The CQC report ‘Out of sight – who cares?’ published on the same day as this response shows that inhumane treatment is still common, so it is very difficult to understand how the Government is able to defend the status quo, rather than taking forward the JCHR recommendations which rightly identified the need for strong leadership on this issue at all levels.

Children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and families are suffering now and it is not acceptable to wait for another review and another consultation (of the Mental Health Act) rather than delivering the well-evidenced actions set out by the JCHR and endorsed by families and those who support them.

Director of The Council For Disabled Children statement

Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of The Council For Disabled Children said: 

“While we have seen some progress through Transforming Care for children and young people with autism and learning disabilities, the CQC Report clearly demonstrates that we have not gone far enough, it is going to take a more concerted approach to deliver real change which supports children and families to have the life they deserve. We cannot allow another generation of children to grow up in a world where their childhood is undermined and their rights taken away and we need to see a cross government action plan with a single responsible minister to hold action plans to account.” 

View: Government policy paper

Related news

Contact us

If you support someone with a severe learning disability whose behaviour challenges you can contact the CBF Family Support service on 0300 666 0126 or email us at:

Family support service