§ Lord Pearson of Rannoch
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they intend that:
- (a) mentally handicapped people should be able to live in village communities when that is what they or their families choose;
- (b) new village communities should be developed to meet demand, including those which could be created by modifying existing hospital sites; and
- (c) if so, whether they will consider issuing statutory guidance to make sure that such intentions are respected at local level in future. [HL525]
§ Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
Valuing People, the White Paper on learning disability published on 20 March 2001, makes clear that local councils in considering the future housing, care and support needs of people with learning disabilities and their families must ensure that all options are considered. These options should include small-scale ordinary housing, supported living and village and intentional communities. Councils should respect the preferences of individuals and their families, wherever the preferred options will meet individuals' assessed needs and are affordable.
It remains the responsibility of local statutory authorities to determine the precise pattern of services to be developed in their area as they are best placed to make such decisions in the light of the Department of Health's guidance and their local knowledge of needs and resources. This could include the development of village communities on suitable hospital sites.
We shall be issuing statutory guidance on implementing the proposals set out in Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century. This will confirm that local authorities must not rule out any of the options when considering the future housing, care and support needs of people with learning disabilities and their families. We are currently consulting on the guidance.