Consensus spark industry think piece from ADASS

As a leading provider of services for people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, we are pleased to have contributed to, and sponsored, a new industry think piece “Choice is Key” from ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) on what’s next for accommodation and support for people with learning disabilities.

Recent years have seen massive change in the sector and in our opinion rather a lot of confusion.  This is compounded by perceptions of residential and supported living as “models” of care, the drive towards optimum size models, financial blockages for new service investment and differing opinions on how best to support individuals with complex and challenging needs.

With contributions from a range of providers including Consensus, strategic commissioners, ADASS Leads and Transforming Care Leads “Choice is Key” opened up strong debate and opinion and challenged perceptions.

The report summised that the challenges in delivering more choice and control for people with learning disabilities are many with funding, commissioning, culture, regulations and scale issues all contributing to whipping up the storm.


How our views helped shape the report

There is often confusion over what is meant when someone talks about a residential home or supported living. Both descriptions tend to conjure up a particular image dependant on the experience of the person listening to or reading the communication. It is a sad fact that most people when asked to describe a residential service would describe a ‘traditional’ model of care where individuals share a communal environment and are subject to the routine and needs of the many rather than living the life they want. However, in truth both Residential and Supported Living cover a range of housing models from the ‘traditional’ and therefore probably unwelcome approach to housing and support just described, to the more innovative and flexible models capable of providing an appropriate environment in which to meet the most complex of needs.

In technical terms the phrase Residential home/service refers to a service where both the accommodation and the support are registered with CQC or the equivalent registration body in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. The phrase Supported Living refers to a service where the accommodation is not registered but the support might be depending on if the support provided is a regulated activity ie personal care.

Either ‘model’ could be structured so individuals share  communal space but have a private bedroom. Either model may provide individuals with a fully self-contained living environment and on occasions additional communal space for socialisation outside of their own ‘flat’. Both models may contain amenities for support staff.