SPEAKEASY REPORT - Summary of Feedback from Speakeasy Sessions held in the Western Health and Social Care Trust area during March 2017

Date published: 11 November 2022

In May 2016, the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) made a statement acknowledging “a historical deficit in investment” of £8 million in adult learning disability services. Health Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA agreed to the appointment of an independent facilitator to explore the reasons behind this deficit and engage families.

In February 2017, a review commenced led by an external consultant Anne McMurray to establish and facilitate a series of workshops with service users, families and carers to underpin WHSCT’s investment plan and guide future engagement with families and carers. 70 people (66 carers and 4 service users) took part in 6 workshop discussions. The sessions provided a space for participants to express their concerns and explore options for how the issue could be rectified.

Following engagement sessions, a ‘Speakeasy Report’ was submitted to the Department for consideration. This report distils feedback on a thematic basis, highlighting a range of issues on financial management, commissioning and delivery of services, service user and carer needs, and the level of PPI and co-production. The attached report contains the findings and agreed way forward.

Key points include:

  • it provides a clear plan for all in order to move the work required forward;
  • clear articulation of the importance of a single point to be used for the sharing of information by the Trust in order to ensure everyone had access to the same information and reduce the potential for mistrust;
  • collation of feedback provided through the speakeasy sessions by theme in order to provide a wide range of information to aid understanding of service limitations/impacts at the time and provide ideas for service improvements/developments to implement services that better identify and meet service user’s needs;
  • puts the onus on the WHSCT to develop an involvement plan in order to deliver on the PPI plan and ensure implementation in line with carers expectations;
  • inclusion of a clear Action Plan for the next steps to be taken by the WHSCT re communications, spending plans and the involvement plan; and
  • clear articulation of the need for momentum to be maintained and the expectation set out that overall the whole process may take two to three years to deliver.

Over the past five years, the Trust have sought to rebalance investment on learning disability services, deliver on the recommendations set out by the Speakeasy report and have established new structures to engage families and carers.  In 2022, the Trust commissioned an evaluation of structures established  , which is in the process of being finalised. The Department will issue further updates in the coming months on next steps in relation to closure of this issue.

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