Learning Disability Policy

Apr 21, 2024

Key reviews and reports have influenced policy and the strategic landscape regarding people with a learning disability, autism or other support needs in NI.

Following similar exercises in England and Scotland, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland started an independent review in 2002.  This review looked into laws, policies and services for people with mental health needs or a learning disability. The report that came out of this was called The Bamford Review.

Equal Lives, published in 2005, followed. It set out a vision for creating services for men, women and children with a learning disability for the next 15 to 20 years.

In 2015, the Department of Health launched the Service Framework for Learning Disability. This Framework aimed to improve the health and wellbeing of people with a learning disability, their carers and families.

It hoped to do this through promoting

  • social inclusion
  • reducing inequalities in health and social wellbeing
  • and improving the quality of health and social care services, especially those supporting those most vulnerable in our society.

The Department for Communities announced that work would start on the development of new Social Inclusion Strategies in 2020.  This included a Disability Strategy.

The new Disability Strategy aims to tackle inequalities and barriers that affect the everyday lives of Deaf and disabled people. Based on available evidence, it focuses on identifying and addressing the issues, barriers and disadvantages that can stop equality of opportunity. This strategy has not yet been published.

We Have A Dream 465kb
Messages from people with a learning disability to the Review, 2004
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Equal Lives Report 2228kb
Review of Policy and Services, 2005
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Learning Disability Service Framework 1541kb
Standards of health and social care that are both evidence based and measurable.
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