National Consultation Underway On Proposed Learning Disability, Autism & Neurodivergence Bill

CONSULTATION is underway on proposed legislation for Scotland aimed at improving the lives of people with learning disabilities and neurodivergent people.


The Scottish Government is considering introducing a new bill, and Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership are keen to help promote the opportunity for everybody to have their say.


NHS Dumfries and Galloway strategic planning and commissioning manager Glen Graham said: “At the current time, the Scottish Government is exploring the idea of new legislation which they term the Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill.
“They say that they are aware that people with learning disabilities and neurodivergent people can be amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society.
“The Scottish Government says that the Bill’s objectives would be to better respect, protect and champion the rights of these groups, and a fairer national approach.
“Scoping work for a Bill took place between May and July 2022 involving 30 different events and 18 different stakeholder organisations.
“Now, the Scottish Government are seeking everyone’s thoughts on the proposals which have emerged from that work.
“As a large number of people within our region stand to be affected by any new legislation in this area, either directly or indirectly, we’re very keen to help promote the opportunity for them to have their say.”


Scoping work for the bill took place between May and July 2022, with 30 different events involving 18 different stakeholder organisations.


Opportunities envisaged through the potential legislation include the chance to legally define various communities under Scottish law.


Other outcomes could involve requirements for the Scottish Government and other public bodies to produce strategies around neurodivergence and learning disabilities, and a potential requirement for mandatory training among those working within the public sector, including health and social care staff.


Requirements around communications could include more routine use of alternative formats such as Easy Read editions.


Data collection is another area of interest, with the possibility of collecting information about how people with learning disabilities and neurodivergent people use local supports and services and what services they use, in order to better understand their needs now and in the future.


Another idea for the Bill is the potential for it to provide a right to independent advocacy in a range of settings, including health and social care, education, employment, benefits and housing.


Mr Graham said: “The new Bill is potentially extremely wide ranging, with lots of implications.
“The consultation currently underway has been developed alongside people with lived experience, including up to 27 people with experience of conditions including learning disabilities, autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and Down’s syndrome.
“A stakeholder panel and a practitioner panel were also involved in preparing the consultation, including organisations and charities and a number of practitioners from groups providing support and other services.
“We’d encourage everyone with an interest to take part in this national consultation, feeding back before the closing deadline of April 24.”


Details can be found at the following address: https://www.gov.scot/publications/learning-disabilities-autism-neurodivergence-bill-consultation/pages/0/


The consultation itself can be completed by visiting: https://consult.gov.scot/mental-health-unit/learning-disabilities-autism-neurodivergence-bill/consultation/