A commissioner for the rights of people with learning disabilities and/or autism?

In Sir Stephen Bubb’s progress report on action in response to his 2014 report commissioned by the head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, Bubb expresses disappointment that the post May 2015 Conservative government has not codified a ‘charter of rights’ for people with learning disabilities (a charter that the organisation for which I am a Trustee, CHANGE, helped prepare working with people with learning disabilities).  Rather than recommend again that it is, he instead proposes a Commissioner for the rights of people with learning disabilities and/or autism to protect and promote rights, based on the model of the Children’s Commissioner.

I have been calling for a Disability Rights Commissioner for some time, so was disappointed to see people I respect on Twitter dismiss the idea out of hand.  I would not for one moment venture that it alone offers any sort of solution, but I do think as part of the mix it could be valuable.   However, I would caution yet again against allowing this to be positioned solely as a ‘response’ to the issues raised by Winterbourne View, and instead  begin from the basis that Winterbourne View highlights much wider and deeper issues for our society to contend with regarding its respect for the human rights of disabled people – the solutions to which lack any coherent strategic leadership.  I’ll not repeat the case for a Disability Rights Commissioner here but refer readers to my previous post on the matter.

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