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New group to advise on learning disability issues

Monday, 10 September 2012
The Welsh Government has established a new group to champion learning disability issues and provide specialist advice to ministers on matters affecting people with a learning disability.
 

Following a recruitment exercise Dr Roger Banks, a consultant psychiatrist with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Sophie Hinksman, vice-chair of All Wales People First, have been appointed co-chairs of the group. Members will include representatives of the key voluntary organisations working in the learning disability field as well as health professionals and representatives of the Association of Directors of Social Services. 

The Learning Disability Advisory Group will help the Welsh Government shape its learning disability policy on issues such as sustainable social services, tackling health inequalities and social integration and inclusion.

The funding provided to meet the running costs of the group includes a sum for a part-time information officer. This post will help to ensure that people with a learning disability in Wales are aware of and able to engage with the group. 

Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services said:

“It’s imperative people with a learning disability are actively engaged with this group and the work of the government to ensure their needs and experiences are taken into account. I see the group as vital in building relationships with learning disability groups and ensuring their voices are heard on essential areas of the Welsh Government’s work.

“I’d like to thank the co-chairs for accepting the role and bringing their own areas of expertise to the discussion.”

Sophie Hinksman said:

“I am so pleased to have been appointed co-chair of the new Learning Disability Advisory Group and to have the opportunity to represent people with a learning disability and ensure that their voices are heard.” 

Dr Roger Banks said:

“People with a learning disability have much to offer society. As a group we will be highlighting and supporting the contribution that people with a learning disability make to life in Wales and we will be developing a consultative approach to our work in advising the Welsh Government on how its strategies and policies can better meet their needs”.

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