In response, Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, chief executive of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, said:

Following promises made after abuse uncovered at Winterbourne View, there has been a dismal failure to meet the government's June deadline to move people with a learning disability out of assessment and treatment units. Every day that progress is delayed is another day where vulnerable children and adults remain in units where they are at risk of abuse and are often far away from their families and friends.

A new deadline is important but we really need to see the development of long-term and sustainable care in local communities to ensure people get the right support, in the right place, at the right time. What is imperative is that a clear plan is drawn up which engages everyone who has a role to play in not only moving people out of units but also preventing people being unnecessarily moved into them.

Urgent action needs to be taken to bring together better informed clinical decision-making with the development, funding and monitoring of local support and services. Further delays in this programme are simply not acceptable.


For more information, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or

* Liz Kendall MP, Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, said:

“The whole country was shocked by the serious abuse and appalling standards of care at Winterbourne View. Ministers promised to move people with learning disabilities out of Assessment and Treatment Units and into the community. Labour warned at the time that without a detailed plan and clear deadlines, progress on achieving this would slip. Sure enough, three years on, there has been hardly any change.

“It’s a scandal that only a third of the people who were in ATUs last April have since been transferred out and that even today, more people are being sent into them than are being discharged. Over 2,615 people – including 148 children – are still being kept away from their families and friends.

“Labour is calling on the Government to commit to giving people with learning disabilities the support they need in the community or at home by July 2016. We need clear, personal and public commitments from Ministers. It’s time that they made good on their promises.”

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.

Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email

About The Challenging Behaviour Foundation

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation provides information, support and training around challenging behaviour associated with severe learning disabilities, and leads the ‘Challenging Behaviour National Strategy Group’ which seeks to influence policy and practice nationally on behalf of individuals who challenge and their families.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation was founded in 1997 by Vivien Cooper, parent of a son with severe learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging. Today the Challenging Behaviour Foundation is in regular contact with over 5000 families and professionals across the UK.

There are an estimated 30,000 individuals in England with severe learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging.