11th May 2009
Self-advocacy champion appointed as new Director for Learning Disabilities
From 5 May, people with learning disabilities have gained a new champion in the Department of Health following the appointment of Scott Watkin as Co-National Director for Learning Disabilities.
Care Services Minister Phil Hope appointed Scott to lead work on making the Department’s learning disability strategy, Valuing People Now, a reality. He will work jointly with Anne Williams, the current National Director.
His role will also involve:
- Speaking on behalf of Government to organisations representing people with learning disabilities and their families, public and independent organisations delivering services and voluntary and lobby groups.
- Representing to Government the views of all people with learning disabilities, including those from BME groups, so that the development of Government policy is based on what people with learning disabilities want and need.
- Taking a particular lead in work to develop strong and effective advocacy – as described in Valuing People Now
- Supporting work to strengthen links between the self advocacy movement and family carer groups, locally, regionally and nationally
- Jointly chairing the stakeholder pre-meetings of the cross-Government Learning Disability Programme Board, helping to make sure that it is an effective and representative voice of the learning disability field to government and the public.
Scott Watkin said:
As Co-National Director I would like to see that the lives of people with a learning disability change for the better, and that we deliver services in a more personalised way. I also would like to see that people with a learning disability have the same rights and equal opportunities as everyone else. They should be included in the community.
We should also make sure people in the ethnic and minority community do not get discriminated against, and have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
I am looking forward to being part of the team, and the new challenges ahead in delivering Valuing People Now. I hope that we can make the lives of people with a learning disability change for the better.
Care Services Minister, Phil Hope said:
I’m delighted Scott will be joining the team here at the Department of Health. Scott’s skills and experience will be a great asset to the Department and with his help we will make sure that people with learning disabilities have a strong voice to influence policymaking at senior Government level. I’m confident he will help us make the vision set out in ’Valuing People Now’ a reality for everyone with learning disabilities and their families.
Scott is 27 and lives with his wife on the Isle of Wight. He is a Special Olympian, winning medals at the Special Olympic Games for the 200 metres and the standing long jump.
Prior to taking up this post, Scott co-chaired the Isle of Wight Learning Disability Partnership Board, where he played a key role in restructuring the board in anticipation of Valuing People Now and the increased personalisation of services.
Scott was also Vice Chair for the Isle of Wight Gateway Club which provides leisure activities for people with learning disabilities at evening and weekends. He has also volunteered on a programme to provide work-related services for people with learning disabilities.
Notes to Editors
1. Co-National Director position was created in 2006 to provide joint national leadership around the delivery of Government’s original learning disability white paper, Valuing People. This was the first ever senior Government post specifically for a person with learning disabilities, and as the first Co-National Director, Nicola Smith made an excellent contribution to the implementation of Valuing People, raising the profile of both the policy and the issues for people with learning disabilities nationally.
2. Scott Watkin will take up his post on 12th May 2009, for a period of three years.
3. Valuing People Now: A New Three Year strategy for people with learning disabilities was published on 19th January 2009 by the Department of Health.
(Source – News Distribution Service for Government and the Public Sector)