About Policy Shapers

Policy Shapers are people with a learning disability, their family members, carers and other professionals who work with Mencap to influence laws and policies.  

Policy Shapers help us tell the government and decision makers what life is like for people with a learning disability, and what support people with a learning disability need to live their lives the way they want.

Four people wearing Mencap t-shirts stood together smiling and laughing in front of the Houses of Parliament in London.

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How it works

We ask our Policy Shapers what issues matter to them – issues like healthcare, education, benefits, closing institutions, social care, and employment. We email short surveys and other engagement opportunities about those matters to our Policy Shapers.

We use this feedback in briefings and reports, responding to consultations, and in face-to-face meetings with the government and decision-makers. 

Responses from the survey will be anonymised and no information that could be used to identify you will be used publicly. 

If you are sharing information about someone with a learning disability (as a family member, carer, etc.), please check with them that they are ok with you sharing their information before you do so. If the person is not able to consent to sharing their photos/film/story, go to the best interests assessment page.

If you’d like to find out more, email the Mencap policy team at policyshapers@mencap.org.uk

As a thank you, every time a Policy Shaper responds to one of our surveys, you are entered in a draw to win a £50 gift card. We will pick a random winner every month.

If you give us permission, we may contact you about participating in focus groups with other Policy Shapers.

Your chance to make a difference

We want people with a learning disability and their families to be involved as much as possible in our work. You know first-hand what needs to change and what good support looks like.

Being a Mencap Policy Shaper, you can help make sure that people making decisions on laws and policies hear your voice.

We supported the Department for Health and Social Care to speak to people with a learning disability before they started their consultation into mandatory training so that they understood all the issues. When they opened the consultation on this issue, we held focus groups to make sure our response reflected the things that were important. This led to the Government implementing mandatory training on learning disabilities and agreeing to co-produce this training with people with lived experience.   

We made sure the Department for Education’s reforms to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) system were accessible to everyone. With the input of people with a learning disability, we were able to convince the Government to include an easy read version of the reforms, which were published alongside other national guidance. This easy read guidance was developed in partnership with people with a learning disability, who designed the layout, decided on the wording and pictures, and made recommendations about other factors to increase accessibility. Not only did it provide accessible materials for many people across the country, but it also helped to show the Government the importance of accessible communications in all areas of their work.

Interested in becoming a Policy Shaper?

Policy Shapers help us tell the government and decision-makers what life is like for people with a learning disability.

By being a Mencap Policy Shaper, you can help to make sure that these people hear your voice.

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