'New' complaints Department of Health 's investigation into Valuing People's
Dear Sandra Salmon and Neil Armstrong, Health Service Ombudsman
I want to make a 'new' complaint which is fully explained below on this
You have my permission to attain copies of a full record of all my
complaints from Victoria Fraser and Sam Cameron,at the Department of Health
[log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask] on this matter.
I will add that I have recieved no responses to all my complaints from
Professor Sheehan or Mr Rob Grieg, at the National Valuing People's Team and
I feel that I've been treated less favourable as a autsitic/neurodiverse
disabled person and they have refused to make 'reasonable-adjustments' in my
case, under DDA 1995. I also feel that I have not been afforded a
'fair-hearing', under Article 6; HRA 1998 on this matter too.
Mr Colin Revell.... See response from Victoria Fraser, DoH to my
Dear Mr Revell
I have now completed my enquiries into your complaint.
I have contacted Professor Sheehan's Private Office concerning your
correspondence. They have conducted a thorough search for an email or
letter from you but can find no record of receiving anything other than a
copy of my letter to you in which I advised you to contact Professor
Sheehan 's office directly.
I can find nothing to add to the information I provided in my letter of 5
December and am sending this to you again for your information. (attached
Professor Sheehan offers his apologies for being unavailable. As you can
imagine, the nature of his work means that he is in planned meetings every
day. His office has reviewed the letter I sent you on 5 December and
confirmed that there is nothing new to add.
I am sorry that I am unable to offer any additional information and
apologise that I was not able to reply sooner. Please note that, although
we will be happy to respond to a fresh enquiry from you, we will not reply
to requests which repeat queries where we have already responded in full.
May I also take the opportunity to remind you that any request for
information should be directed to the Department of Health Customer Service
Centre either in writing, by telephone to 020 7210 4850, or by email to
[log in to unmask]
Customer Service Centre
My earlier reply follows. If you would find it more convenient to read
this again as a letter, please reply with a postal address.
Our ref: CSCOM52445 ( CSCOM 43198)
[log in to unmask]
5 December 2005
Dear Mr Revell
Thank you for your recent contact expressing your concerns about the impact
of Valuing People on people with neuro-diversity. I am sorry that it has
taken me so long to gather the additional information as promised.
Your original enquiry concerned the extent to which autistic spectrum
disorders (including Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia,
Tyrhetts' syndrome and other neuro-diverse impairments) are included within
the classification of learning disabilities. I am now able to provide the
As you know Valuing People: a new strategy for learning disability for the
21st century was published in March 2001. This cross-government paper was
the first White Paper for people with learning disabilities for 30 years.
It is based on the four key principles of rights, independence, choice and
Valuing People says that the definition of Learning Disability covers
adults with autism who also have learning disabilities, but not those with
a higher level autistic spectrum disorder who may be of average or even
above average intelligence. This includes some people with Aspergers
Syndrome and the other impairments you have listed such as ADHD, Dyspraxia,
Dyslexia, Tyrhett's syndrome and other neuro-diverse impairments.
Guidance was sent out clarifying the policy for people with Asperger's,
following publication of Valuing People in 2001 as LAC (2001) 23: Valuing
People Implementation. This guidance states that 'Adults with Aspergers
Syndrome or higher functioning autism are not precluded from using learning
disability services'. We issued this guidance because at the time of
publishing Valuing People (2001), the National Autistic Society was
concerned that people who currently got support from such services might
have that withdrawn as a result of Valuing People's publication.
In relation to people with Aspergers Syndrome and other people with
Autistic Spectrum Disorders who do not have a learning disability, it is
the responsibility of local service commissioners and providers to ensure
appropriate services are in place, and these may be from within learning
disability services, hence the guidance not precluding people without
learning disability from such services.
Considering IQ alone is not sufficient to determine whether someone meets
the definition of learning disability. An IQ slightly above 70, if
associated with impaired social functioning may mean that services view
someone as having a learning disability.
However, an IQ substantially above 70, even if associated with impaired
social functioning, would mean that someone would not be considered to have
a learning disability. Valuing People covers adults with autism who also
have learning disabilities. It is for local service providers to assess
the individual's need, look at the balance between the determining factors
and decide on the appropriate services to meet those needs.
Your enquiry also concerned whether multiple complex needs would be
addressed by the learning disabilities services or the mental health
The Department of Health recognises that Asperger's syndrome is a
developmental disorder on the autistic spectrum, sometimes called 'higher
functioning autism', and that there is wide variation in the social
adaptation of people with Asperger's syndrome in adolescence and adulthood.
As a result, it is often difficult to identify the best way of supporting
each individual. We recognise that those who need health or social
services sometimes find themselves less than ideally served by learning
disability or mental health services at a local level, and often fall
Valuing People: The Story So Far (2004) the National Director's report on
progress says that whilst the Prime Minster's Strategy Unit report
Improving Life Chances for Disabled People (2005) will help, it needs to be
clearer on how Government policy for people with autism and Aspergers
Syndrome is to be delivered. (my emphasis)
Liam Byrne made a commitment to respond to Rob Greig's report through the
forthcoming White Paper on Health and Social Care, 'Care closer to home'.
The consultation process for this paper has actively involved 'hard to
reach' groups such as people with ASD's. The consultation is complete and
I anticipate that the White Paper will be published by the end of 2005.
You may wish to look at this Paper before contacting the Department again.
I hope that this reply answers the questions you first raised with Rob
Grieg. Once again I apologise for not directing your enquiry to the right
contacts to get you a reply sooner. I understand that following this
answer you may still be dissatisfied with aspect of the Department of
Health and therefore I am repeating the link to the Department of Health
As with most complaint procedures, the first stage is to seek local
resolution. I understand that part of your complaint concerns the
difficulty you have experienced in contacting Professor Sheehan. If you
have not already done so, I suggest that you put this to him in writing or
by email via
This will be passed on to Professor Sheehan. If you are not satisfied
after you have received a reply from his office, I will progress your
complaint. If your complaint concerns me or any other member of Department
of Health staff, you should write (or email) directly or via dhmail stating
your complaint as clearly as possible. Please do not telephone Rob Grieg's
or Professor Sheehan's office.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Head of Complaints
Customer Service Centre
Head of Knowledge Management, Public Enquiries and Complaints
Customer Service Centre
Department of Health
0207 210 5428/5515/4890
07867 537890 mobile
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