Suffolk places co-production at the heart of its strategy of support for adults with learning disabilities.

The Suffolk Learning Disability Partnership, an independent group of self-advocates, family carers, health and social care commissioners, police, Healthwatch Suffolk, voluntary organisations and housing providers, has co-produced a refresh of the Suffolk Joint Learning Disability Strategy.

The strategy aims to ensure that people with learning disabilities live good lives as part of their community with the right support, at the right time, from the right people. The original strategy was launched in 2015 and has helped to identify and explore specific needs, and given people and their families a voice in the development and commissioning of new services.  

Image by Ace Anglia

The refresh has placed the concept of co-production at its heart. Co-production means people, carers and professionals working together as equal partners to: design, develop, commission, deliver and review services, information and advice. This strategy reinforces the belief that services designed with input from the people they seek to support, are better suited to deliver upon their needs.

Beyond more opportunities for co-production in the development of new services, the strategy also acknowledges the opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism to make use of new technologies and digital solutions to enhance accessibility to services, as well as improving and increasing information and communication and providing good advocacy and support.

Mark a Self-Advocate from Ace Anglia said; “Being part of the Strategy enables me to feed in My Voice and my personal experiences and speak up about issues that are important to me. The Learning Disability Strategy gives me a place where I can work in co-production and am treated as an equal where my views and opinions are respected and listened to.”   

People supporting the vision. Image by Ace Anglia.

Joel, another Self-Advocate from Ace Anglia said; “It is really important for people with Learning Disabilities to understand and be part of the future moving forward in Suffolk. My Voice is very important, and we must encourage other people with learning disabilities to come on board and be part of the future.” 

Kate and Phil, both family carers for people with learning disabilities said “Working together to support people to live good lives – caring is what makes the Suffolk Learning Disability Strategy powerful for parents, families and carers, and being listened to. The commitment of everyone to the strategy vision and test is the essential reassurance that our family members are cared for and cared about and are living their lives fully, independently and as part of our families.” 

Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said; “I would like to thank all those people, carers, organisations and others who have worked together to help refresh this important strategy for Suffolk, especially given the recent challenges of the pandemic. I agree entirely with the vision, that people with learning disabilities should be able to live good lives within communities with the right support.  I hope this strategy will help us continue to work together to develop services which further support this vision.”  

Wendy Scott, Head of Quality: Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism at both West Suffolk and Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “It’s great to be part of, and to have the Suffolk Learning Disability Strategy. Our values for coproduction as equal partners support the Suffolk system to reduce inequalities, improving health and wellbeing”   

You can read the strategy in full by visiting www.suffolkordinarylives.co.uk/suffolk-joint-learning-disability-strategy

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