Vulnerable adults ‘ignored’ on Haringey boards meant to represent them

Mary Langan with her 23-year-old son, James

Mary Langan with her 23-year-old son, James - Credit: Archant

Carers of adults with demential and disabilities are demanding change after a report revealed there is a “breakdown of trust” on the Haringey boards designed to represent them.

Adults with learning disabilities and autism are told they can influence policy if they join the boards, which meet regularly.

But an independent report found the Adult Services Partnership Boards are not effective.

Information discussed at the meetings was not always passed on to decision-makers in the council.

And vulnerable adults were not necessarily given the chance to express themselves.

Carers, vulnerable adults and Haringey council officials can take part – but the report found communication was often “one way” and meetings were badly publicised.

Report author Dr Roger Green from Goldsmiths University said council representatives did not always turn up to meetings.

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And the vulnerable adult chairing the Learning Disability Partnership Board was “often totally ignored by a number of the professionals present who talked over him”.

He said “the level of mistrust, cynicism, frustration, and anger” was obvious among carers and adults with disabilities.

Family carers interviewed said there was a “complete lack of response to their needs and issues”.

Mary Langan, whose 23-year-old son, James, has autism and severe learning difficulties, said the report was “devastating”, but, ultimately, “unsurprising”.

She said: “I have contributed to the Learning Disabilities Board and the Autism Board, with others, as family representatives of disabled people.

“And we have always been disappointed that little seems to improve.

“Anything discussed at the Board appears to go no-where.”

Dr Green recommends that all participants are invited to a community workshop day.

And the council must publicise the importance of the partnership boards as “community spaces” that give a voice to service users.

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “The report makes a number of recommendations and we are working with our stakeholders to consider and take forward the findings.”