Staff at Ty Aberdafen

It has been a tremendous year for policy and campaigns at The Disabilities Trust.

Political visits

As a result of proactive work centrally and by services we have had an unprecedented number of visits from politicians to our centres, including our first visits from a leader of a national party and from a Member of the Scottish Parliament.

Our visitors have helped us to strengthen relationships locally including with funders, raise awareness of disability and improve the lives of the people we support. We are grateful for their time and commitment, and look forward to welcoming more in 2017.

Consultation responses

Responding to consultations helps ensure the Trust’s expertise is heard when shaping legislation or good practice guidelines. With the support of our clinicians and staff from our services we submitted evidence to six consultations in 2016.

The Brain Injury Needs Indicator

Our Brain Injury Needs Indicator (BINI) tool for social workers continues to go from strength to strength. We celebrated the first anniversary of its launch in October and over 400 people from more than 85 local authorities and 55 NHS Trusts are now registered to access the BINI. The BINI is highlighted in the reissued Care Act guidance and in a new resource for social workers produced by BISWG and BASW.

We are delivering training on the BINI and brain injury at workshops for social workers run by BISWG and BASW in early spring 2017. Having successfully hosted three more of our trailblazing BINI webinars during 2016, we will be offering new sessions with updated clinical content in February and March 2017. Professionals who have registered for the BINI can sign up to attend now. We are also continuing to research and evaluate the BINI as a clinical tool and presented our evidence at an international brain injury conference earlier this year.

Social care funding

In a year of dramatic political change that saw the UK vote to leave the European Union in June and Theresa May installed as Prime Minister in July, concerns around funding and delivery of social care continue to dominate headlines. Despite the introduction in April of a voluntary 2% council tax precept specifically to fund adult social care, rising to an additional 3% from April 2017, figures from local government and the regulatory and charity sector insist that adult social care has reached a ‘tipping point’ due to chronic underfunding. The impact on the NHS is also well recognised including by its head Simon Stevens.

We were a signatory to a letter to then-Prime Minister David Cameron in January calling for a cross-party commission to review the future of health and social care, and expressed our concerns about proposed (later cancelled) cuts to PIP benefits in March. We have also approached contacts within the NHS to offer our assistance to ease the growing pressures associated with delayed discharge, or ‘bed blocking’. In 2017 we will continue to advocate for sustainable funding for social care through our membership of the Care and Support Alliance and Voluntary Organisations Disability Group.

Sarah Rufrancos - Policy and Campaigns Manager