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Learning Disabilities: Fulfilling Potential and Supporting Better Lives

  • Tuesday, 13 March 2018
  • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • 08:30 - 16:00
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

                                 “Fantastic Day”                                                           “Very Inspiring”
                                                                           “Thought Provoking”                                              “Very Powerful”

These are just some of the very positive comments made by delegates that attended Open Forum Events conference that focused on improving the lives of people with learning disabilities. This year’s conference; Learning Disabilities: Fulfilling Potential and Supporting Better Lives, will aim to continue the discussions and forward the progress being made in supporting people to take full advantage of life’s opportunities and enabled them to lead fulfilled lives.

Latest figures for 2015 estimate that in England there are 1,087,100 people with learning disabilities, including 930,400 adults, requiring lifelong care, support and protection, to a varying degree, according to the extent of their disabilities. To meet these diverse needs, in 2001 the government launched a new strategy, ‘Valuing People’ which set out ambitious and challenging plans to improve the support and services available to people with learning disabilities based on four key principles: civil rights, independence, choice and inclusion. During the intervening years the aim to transform services has continued with intended improvements in healthcare, employment, education, housing, social services and better support for families and carers.

The Transforming Care programme has sought to move people away from institutionalised accommodation to more community based living, boosted by a recent £10m investment by NHS England to support independent living closer to family and friends. Reducing the health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities is also a key government initiative, as is the desire to close the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people.

The Learning Disabilities: Fulfilling Potential and Supporting Better Lives conference, will introduce to you a comprehensive agenda of expert professionals, contributors and self-advocates, who will guide delegates through a programme of informative and insightful plenary sessions. Examples of best practice and initiatives will be showcased which delegates may feel appropriate to adopt as part of their own support provision. There will be ample opportunity to question, discuss and debate the progress made with improvement, as well as share stories and experiences with the conference to contribute to the wider thinking about supporting better lives.

  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair’s Opening Address

Christine-Koulla Burke, Inequalities & Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities Lead (confirmed)

Patricia Charlesworth, Expert by Experience, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (confirmed)


Keynote Address

  • Diane Domenico, National Personalisation Lead - Learning Disability Programme, NHS England (confirmed)
"Maximising life chances through appropriate and caring support"

People with learning disabilities should be enabled to fulfil their full potential and be offered the opportunities to do so by providing relevant and comprehensive support. Offering choice, protection and equality in healthcare are essential to ensure they are afforded the same rights as the rest of the population.

  • Jacqui Shurlock, Children and Young People Lead, The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (confirmed)
"These are our children"

The Department of Health commissioned a review to take a strategic overview and recommend what practical action can be taken to co-ordinate care, support and treatment for children and young people with complex needs (and behaviour that challenges) involving mental health problems and learning disabilities and/or autism.
The report; ‘These are our children’ makes 11 recommendations for government departments and partners at a national level on how to improve the system.

Jacqui Shurlock led a three-year review of early intervention for children with learning disabilities whose behaviours challenge, funded by DH, which informed the Lenehan review and the children’s content of the Transforming Care programme.

  • Chris Woodhead, Group Director of Housing and Business Development, Dimensions (confirmed)
"Providing the housing people want "

People have the right to express their choices in regard to living independently. To do so successfully, appropriate housing and accommodation arrangements must be made available.


Main Sponsor

"MacIntyre no limits - alternative education for young people with SEN"

A presentation on MacIntyre’s alternative learning provision (No Limits). In partnership with FE colleges and schools this provides local and bespoke education solutions for young people with SEN. The presentation will take you through the model and some of the positive outcomes this has had for young people with additional needs.


Question and Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

  • Joe Booker, Specialist Outreach Consultant, Seashell Trust (confirmed)
"Supporting decision-making for young people with complex needs"

Joe will explain the methods we use to enable those people with the most significant and severe learning difficulties to understand their right to choose and how best to facilitate communication. He will lead a discussion about how small choices can lead to informed decision-making which can have substantial implications on a person’s health and wellbeing.

  • Allison O’Donnell, Practice Development Nurse Specialist Learning Disability Services GG&C, Palliative Care for People with Learning Disability Network(PCPLD) and Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GG&C) (confirmed)
"Palliative care – everyone’s business"

The aim of the PCPLD Network is to enhance collaboration between all service providers, carers and people with a learning disability, share and promote best practice and to raise awareness of the palliative care needs of people with a learning disability. This presentation will enhance our understanding of the challenges recognising and providing palliative care to this population and lead us to consider our roles supporting people during their palliative care journey.


Liz Donnelly, Regional Manager North West, Community Integrated Care (confirmed)

Steve Leonard, Foundation Manager, Saints Community Development Foundation (confirmed)

"Support from and within the community"

Community Integrated Care and St Helens Rugby League Club
Social care charity, Community Integrated Care, and Saints have formed an exciting new partnership, offering adults with learning disabilities the opportunity to take part in health and wellbeing activities, as well as special match day experiences.


Case Study

"Improving quality of life using a psychologically informed environment (PIE) approach"

This paper will describe the implementation of a psychologically informed environment for 12 community residential services supporting people with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities, and provide provisional data exploring the impact of a PIE. A Case Study example will be used to demonstrate the implementation of PIE and recommendations for ways of improving provisions with autism services using a PIE approach are made.


Question and Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair’s Afternoon Address


Case Study

Nicola Brittle, Development Director, Affinity Trust (confirmed)

Mary Brittle, Strategic Commissioning Manager, Bradford Metropolitan District Council (confirmed)

Paul Taylor, Head of Children's Services Development, Affinity Trust (confirmed)

"Positive behaviour support service"

Commissioned by Bradford MDC using a Social Investment funding model, Affinity Trust has recently begun delivery of a Positive Behaviour Support service for children and young people in Bradford.

Its aim is to keep children with significant behaviours that challenge within the family home instead of them entering residential care. Affinity Trust will only receive the outcome payments if this is achieved.

There are a few PBS services delivered by the NHS across the country. We believe this is the first service of its kind to be commissioned using Social Investment and delivered by a support provider. In the presentation we will share information about the commissioning process and what the service is seeking to achieve.


Carl Shaw, Learning Disability Adviser Improving Health & Quality Learning Disability Programme, NHS England (confirmed)

Nigget Saleem, Bury Clinical Cabinet Lead-Learning Disabilities. NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Pharmacy STOMP Lead, NHS England (confirmed)

"Stopping over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both (STOMP)"

STOMP is about making sure people get the right medicine if they need it and that people get all the help they need in other ways as well. It is about encouraging people to have regular medication reviews, supporting health professionals to involve people in decisions and showing how families and social care providers can be involved. STOMP also aims to improve awareness of non-drug therapies and practical ways of supporting people whose behaviour is seen as challenging.


Case Study

  • Ray Godwin, Head of Development & Partnerships (North), Consensus Support (confirmed)
  • Melanie Harmer, Behaviour Practitioner, Consensus Support (confirmed)
"Positive risk taking & positive behavioural support – the twin key factors in ensuring a better life for those with highly complex needs"

Partnership working with Local Authorities and Forensic support services is a key aspect of supporting individuals with highly complex and challenging needs through their pathway. However positive risk taking in line with maintaining safeguarding, choice and control is the biggest most influential part of an individual’s, family member and provider’s journey.  As a pathfinder provider in Manchester to support the Transforming Care Agenda, our focus for a gentleman with very complex needs was to transfer and manage existing risks identified in a long-term secure setting to a residential setting.  This challenged us to change and adapt our support processes to ensure a better quality of life and more independent way of life for him.  Through Risk Mitigation Profile and positive behaviour support, a move on to residential services was the changing point in his life. With a focus for future support for this gentleman being a move to his own tenancy with support, his journey and ours was about not seeing risk and needs that had inherently become so complex over the years as an obstacle to a better life.


Question and Answer Session


Afternoon Refreshment Break

  • Rachael Batters, Project Ability Officer, Inclusion Team, Youth Sport Trust (confirmed)
"Sport for all"

The Play Unified campaign is inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to understanding, acceptance and friendship; breaking down the barriers that exist for people with learning disabilities.
As a global Special Olympics campaign, delivered in the UK in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, it looks to end the injustice, intolerance and inactivity of young people with learning disabilities, by building a unified generation through sport. This builds on research that highlights people with disabilities are less than half as likely to play sport at least once a week as the general populate (Sport England, 2016)


Closing Keynote Address

  • Shaun Webster MBE, Project Worker in the Information Team, St Mary’s Hospital, Leeds (confirmed)
"Speaking up for our rights"

Question and Answer Session


Chair's Closing Remarks and Event Close

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  • Sponsors
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  • Featured Events
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  • Who will attend




The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Construction of The Bridgewater Hall commenced on 22 March 1993, but the idea of a new concert hall for Manchester dates back to the reconstruction of the Free Trade Hall in the 1950s after wartime bomb damage. The Free Trade Hall was home to the city’s famous Hallé orchestra and also hosted rock and pop concerts. However, despite holding great public affection, the 1850s Free Trade Hall was ill-equipped to respond to the rising standards of service and acoustic excellence demanded by performers and audiences.

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    • 08:30 - 16:30
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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.
  • Learning Disabilities 13.3.2018
    Learning Disabilities 13.3.2018

who will attend

  • Carer
  • Clinical Commissioning Group member
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Councillor
  • Direct Payment Team member
  • Director / Manager of Care Homes
  • Director of Adult Mental Health Services
  • Director of Adult Safeguarding
  • Director of Adult Social Services
  • Director of Community / Domiciliary Care
  • Director of Disability Services
  • Director of Older People's Services
  • Director of Public Health
  • Director of Supported / Sheltered Housing
  • Doctor
  • DoLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) Co-Ordinator
  • Health and Wellbeing Boards member
  • Health Visitor
  • Learning Disability / Disability Liaison Nurse
  • Neighbourhood and Community Policing Team member
  • Nurse
  • Outreach worker
  • Personalisation and Self-Directed Support Team member
  • Probation Officer
  • Safeguarding Adults Board member
  • Senior Police Personnel
  • Support Worker