Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill: consultation

We are committed to protecting, respecting and championing the rights of people with learning disabilities and neurodivergent people. This consultation on proposals for a Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill seeks the views of everyone on how we can do this.

Ministerial Foreword

"Neurodivergence and learning disabilities are part of the natural diversity of human expression. We do not need curing, we just need acceptance."

- Member of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP)

People with learning disabilities and neurodivergent people are unique individuals, who, like all of us, have potential to develop, skills to offer, and vibrant lives to lead connected to their families and communities. They may think differently and see and experience the world differently. This shouldn't cause them to be marginalised, stigmatised, disadvantaged, abused and excluded, as the evidence set out in this consultation, and the contributions we have received from people with lived experience, sadly and clearly demonstrate.

Scotland's diversity is our strength. We are committed to building a country that ensures equality of opportunity for all by embedding equality, inclusion and human rights into everything that we do. It is evident that much more needs to be done and that this work is needed to provide the focussed attention that these groups, who have at times been overlooked and made to feel invisible, need and deserve.

We have been dedicated to taking a human rights based approach to the development of this consultation. It has been co-designed with people with lived experience at the heart of it, through our Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP). I am incredibly grateful for the work and contributions made by LEAP members whose ideas, knowledge, expertise, and energy is woven throughout this document – including the wonderful covering page which was designed by a LEAP member.

We have also worked closely with our Stakeholder and Practitioner Panels in the development of this consultation. These Panels include organisations and charities representing the views of a wide range of people and a range of practitioners from the organisations which provide support and services to them.

We now want to stimulate a public discussion and provide everyone with an opportunity to tell us about where they think rights could be better protected, respected and championed for people with learning disabilities and neurodivergent people. It is crucial that we get this right and that we consider these issues carefully to make real, groundbreaking improvements to people's experiences and outcomes, seizing the opportunity to be innovative whilst focusing on delivering sustainable person-centred public services.

This document presents the key themes we have heard so far, but there may be others that we should consider. We are inviting views on who the proposed Bill should apply to and have set out a range of proposals on overarching themes, such as inclusive communications, data, and mandatory training in the public sector; as well as a range of proposals on specific themes, such as health and wellbeing, social care, education, and transport.

I recognise, however, that legislation in and of itself is not enough to build the inclusive and equal society that we aspire to. This proposed Bill is not a singular solution. We therefore continue to prioritise other vital work in partnership with COSLA and local authorities, the NHS, other agencies, and the third sector, which is described in detail throughout this document.

This proposed Bill presents a unique and world-leading opportunity to help create a society where being neurodivergent or having learning disabilities is as accepted as being neurotypical. As has been articulated so well in the LEAP Co-Chair Foreword, which follows, all of Scotland can benefit by strengthened protection and respect for the rights of these groups.

I would therefore like to invite views from as many people as possible on the proposals set out in this consultation. I am confident that, together, we can build a fairer Scotland for all. We want to hear from you in a way that suits you best which is why we are inviting responses in writing, audio, video, or at our events online and in-person across the country.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the many people who have worked in partnership with us and who have dedicated a significant amount of their time and energy to this process so far. In particular, I would like to thank the members of the LEAP, Stakeholder and Practitioner Panels.

Maree Todd MSP

Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport


Email: LDAN.Bill@gov.scot

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