Scotland’s invisible people: Support and opportunities for adults with learning disabilities

The Fraser of Allander Institute is embarking on a year-long project looking at outcomes for working age people with learning disabilities in Scotland. In doing so, we will examine areas where the public sector, employers and civil society could help make their lives better.

We are also seeking to highlight good examples of where people have had the support required to make their own way to lead a fulfilling life. This is a project that deserves time and reflection. There is a lot for us to learn, a lot of services and organisations to understand, and a lot of people to engage with. This first report is just one piece of the jigsaw that we are seeking to put together over the next year. In this report, we focus on getting some of the facts together and we also report on some of the issues that have been raised with us by people with learning disabilities, as well as some of the views of the wider public.

We also take a look at the high-level ambition put forward by the Scottish Government in recent years, and how this has permeated across government economic strategies and into funding decisions. Overall, this has been a sobering report to write. Undoubtedly, there have improvements relative to twenty years ago when long-term hospitalisation for people with learning disabilities was commonplace. But this does not mean enough progress has been made.

Whilst it is clear that in pockets of government there is a good understanding of what is required and a great many charities and organisations helping to make voices heard, we have found that there is often a lack of visibility of people with learning disabilities in mainstream policy development.

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An easy ready version of this report is available here.

Video summary


Emma Congreve is a Principal Knowledge Exchange Fellow and Deputy Director at the Fraser of Allander Institute. Emma's work at the Institute is focussed on policy analysis, covering a wide range of areas of social and economic policy.  Emma is an experienced economist and has previously held roles as a senior economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and as an economic adviser within the Scottish Government.

Knowledge Exchange Associate at the Fraser of Allander Institute

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The Fraser of Allander Institute is delighted to embark on this long-term project aiming to shine a light on the support systems in place for adults with learning disabilities in Scotland – both from government and wider society.