Please note that this event is now finished

Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities

  • Tuesday, 31 January 2017
  • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 16:15
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Open Forum Events are delighted to be hosting their inaugural event focusing on the latest developments affecting people with a learning disability in the UK. The Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities conference will highlight the issues facing those living with learning disability, with the aim to provide positive insight to challenge and overcome some of the barriers to an improved quality of life.

In the UK there are 1.5million people with a learning disability. In England, 905,000 adults, aged 18+, fall into this category.

In 2011 Panorama exposed the appalling abuse that occurred at Winterbourne View. The government reacted by making a commitment, alongside leading health and social care organisations, to transform the care and improve the lives of those living with a learning disability. Sir Stephen Bubb was commissioned to report and make recommendations as to how to expedite transformation in care provision. The Transforming Care Delivery Plan aims to ensure that people have the right to the same opportunities as anyone else, be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other individual and to live satisfying and valued lives.

The Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities event seeks to provide a platform for those working with individuals with learning disabilities to help them gain a greater understanding of how services have progressed since 2011. The conference agenda has been designed to reflect on what impact the transformation programme has had to date and how much more needs to be done to ensure people with learning disabilities are afforded improved opportunities, better care and a superior quality of life. Attendees will hear from a line-up of expert speakers who will discuss challenging topics, debate contentious issues and analyse the way forward. Delegates will gain a true understanding of the current thinking which can be applied and positively contribute to their own circumstances, organisations and working practices to improve the lives of all those touched by learning disability.

The Transforming Care Programme was established in the wake of the investigation into the Winterbourne View scandal. Further revelations in the Mazars report, which was an independent review of deaths of people with learning disabilities who came into contact with Southern Health NHS FT, has further cemented the need for considerable improvement in the way people with learning difficulties or disabilities are treated.

The Programme’s Vision statement is: Children, young people and adults with a learning disability and/or autism who display behaviour that challenges, including those with a mental health condition, have the right to the same opportunities as anyone else to live satisfying and valued lives and, to be treated with the same dignity and respect. They should have a home within their community, be able to develop and maintain relationships and get the support they need to live a healthy, safe and fulfilling life.

The programme focusing on five main areas: empowering individuals; right care, right place; workforce; regulation and data. Core feature of the plan to ensure sustainable change includes offering more choice for people and their families and greater say in the care they receive. Another key element is that there is an increase in the capacity for the provision of community care, allowing individuals to remain closer to home and live as independently as possible, with a definite move away from inappropriate in- patient facilities. 48 transforming care partnerships have been established in England to develop three-year plans to create facilities that meet local needs and in doing so reduce in-patient beds by 50% as new community services are developed.

People with learning disabilities face discrepancies in the opportunities offered to them in areas such as health, housing, employment and community services. Health inequalities are well documented as people with a learning disability are more likely to experience a premature death. There is a 54-fold increase in the likelihood of them dying before the age of 50 compared to the rest of the population.

In the UK currently only 49% of the 11.5m disabled people are working compared to 82% of non-disabled. MENCAP did a study suggesting 60% of people with a learning disability would like to be and are able to be in paid employment. Currently, only 6% of those with a learning disability are in paid employment. The Joint Work and Health Unit have developed a strategy to address this and NHS England are two years into their three-year strategy on learning disability employment. In a recent survey nearly half of UK businesses are reluctant to recruit people with learning disabilities for fear that inappropriate comments or behaviour may occur in the workplace. These types of worries and misconceptions can have a profound impact on a person’s career opportunities, regardless of professional ability, and quality of life. For businesses, they are missing out on a valuable source of talent and skills.

Other than addressing health inequalities and employment opportunities, there are many ways in which the quality of life for those with learning difficulties and their families can be improved. Greater coordination between services makes things simpler for the person and their families; more support for carers lessens the burden for responsibility; more choice in housing encourages more independent living; better planning at times of transition makes for successful change.

One area that can impact across the board is the use of effective communication. People with learning disability need to express themselves and engage with the world that surround them. Communication can take many forms and is simply a method of passing on information from one person to another and it is imperative that the most effective means of 2-way communication is developed with each individual across all environments.

Join us at the Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities conference where we will enjoy a coming together of like-minded individuals dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with learning disabilities.

Read more
  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair’s Opening Address

  • Dr Karen Dodd, Co-Director, Services for People with Learning Disabilities (confirmed)

Keynote Address

  • Fiona McMillan-Shields, Head of Transformation Delivery, NHS England’s Learning Disabilities Programme (confirmed)
  • Carl Shaw, Learning Disability Advisor, NHS England’s Learning Disabilities Programme (confirmed)
"Transforming Care, Transforming Lives: Improving health, support and opportunities for people with a learning disability"

People with learning disabilities should be enabled to live full lives, with more opportunities and less exposure to harm, as well as experience health outcomes in line with the wider general population.

  • Andy Callow, Head of Operations, Turning Point (confirmed)
"Moving Out of Assessment and Treatment Centres"

One of the key partners in delivering community-based alternatives to assessment and treatment centres are specialist providers of social care. There is a need to move away from a model which is dominated by health to one involving partnership between people themselves, their families and carers, appropriate parts of the health service and social care providers.

  • Julie Pointer, Preparing for Adulthood Programme Manager, National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) (confirmed)
"Preparing for the Transition to Adult Life"

Preparing for adulthood needs to start early in order for young people with SEND to have the same life opportunities as their peers.
A successful transition to adulthood depends on having high aspirations, early and effective planning, putting the young person at the centre of the process to help them prepare for the changes ahead and support their choices in areas such as employment, housing, having friends and relationships, being part of their community and enjoying good health.


Main Sponsor

"Texthelp: Supporting High Performers and Best Talent"

What does talent look like? Can you recognise it in your organisation? Tapping into a diverse talent pool can bring great benefits to your organisation. This presentation will demonstrate how you can support your diverse talent in the workplace with assistive technology.


Question and Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

  • Kirsty Roche, Complex Behaviour Support Lead, Dimensions (confirmed)
"From Categorised ‘Challenging Behaviour’ to Community Based 1:1 Support"

The journey of one individual through personalised, positive behaviour support and the control gained from this approach, to where they are today.

  • Dr Della Money, Consultant Speech and Language Therapist, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (confirmed)
"Towards Inclusive Communication"

Communication is vital in ensuring that people can express themselves and make sense of the world around them. It is vital that families and people who work with, or care and support people with learning disabilities are able to communicate in a way that is accessible for the recipient. For people with learning disabilities communication is essential for them to be able to express themselves and engage with the world around them.

  • Kath Sutherland, Equalities Consultant and Founder, START Ability Services (confirmed)
"Seeking out and Securing Employment Opportunities"

Although disabled people are more likely to be in employment now than they were in 2002, there remains a persistent gap between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled adults. According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, the percentage of people with learning disabilities in paid employment has decreased over the past four years in England dropping from 7.1% to 6% meaning fewer than 10,000 people are in real, fully paid jobs.


Question and Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair’s Afternoon Address

  • Helen Hart, Intelligence and Insight Manager, Healthwatch Derbyshire (confirmed)
"Improving the Experience of people with LD when Accessing Healthcare Services"

People with learning disabilities are exposed to inequalities in healthcare provision. They are entitled to receive the same quality of care as non-disabled people and health providers are expected to make reasonable adjustments to ensure services are accessible to all. Healthcare professionals should be able to anticipate the needs of disabled people and strive to provide the same level of service as for non-disabled patients.

"The Role that Creative and Performing Arts Play in Enhancing Everyone’s Quality of Life"

Why learning disabled artists need to be taken seriously as professional artists and not seen as engaging in “therapeutic activities”. Two learning disabled artists will talk about their work and how they are helping to change attitudes to learning disabled people, how they can be leaders and what our communities can learn from them about inclusion and collaboration.

  • Karen Flood, Co-Chair, National Learning Disability Board (NLDB) (confirmed)
"Hear Our Voice"

People with learning disabilities and their families have the right to be regarded with dignity and respect and be offered the same opportunities to make choices and decisions about their own lives as enjoyed by any other individual. Having their voices heard and listened to is a powerful force to ensure that they have more control over their own lives.


Question and Answer Session


Chair’s Closing Remarks


Coffee in the Networking Area


Event Close

  • Register for event

You can no longer register for this event
  • Sponsors
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads
  • Who will attend



Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre is the ideal solution when searching for conference venues in Manchester. Top-of-the-range conference suites, 3 star value hotel accommodation, delicious dining and friendly service are the ideal components for a successful conference or event in the heart of the city centre.

The 18 conference rooms are decked out with all the mod cons including state-of-the-art AV technology, projectors and screens, free Wi-Fi and flip charts. Our clients cover the whole spectrum and include government organisations, trade unions, large corporate companies, non-profit organisations, health and education sectors and small to medium-sized businesses.

From the get-go we strive for excellence in everything we do and our dedicated team of conference professionals go all out to make sure your conference, event or exhibition runs like clockwork.

Featured Events

  • Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities

    • 31 January 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:15
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Improving Lives: Autism and Learning Difficulties

    • 12 October 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Autism: The Challenges and Opportunities

    • 01 June 2016
    • 08:30 - 14:00
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Living Well with Autism: Beyond the Limitations

    • 28 May 2015
    • 08:00 - 13:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
    Open Forum Events offer a number of partnership, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that can meet your marketing and business development needs.

who will attend

  • Carers
  • Clinical Commissioning Group members
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Councillors
  • Direct Payment Team members
  • Directors / Manager of Care Homes
  • Directors of Adult Mental Health Services
  • Directors of Adult Safeguarding
  • Directors of Adult Social Services
  • Directors of Community / Domiciliary Care
  • Directors of Disability Services
  • Directors of Older People’s Services
  • Directors of Public Health
  • Directors of Supported / Sheltered Housing
  • Doctors
  • DoLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) Co-Ordinators
  • Health and Wellbeing Boards members
  • Health Visitors
  • Learning Disability / Disability Liaison Nurses
  • Neighbourhood and Community Policing Team members
  • Nurses
  • Outreach workers
  • Personalisation and Self-Directed Support Team members
  • Probation Officers
  • Safeguarding Adults Board members
  • Senior Police Personnels
  • Support Workers