Jacqui Bell, the Association for Real Change’s CEO, met with Chris Bull last week, the man appointed by the Department of Health to improve commissioning practices and prevent unsuitable hospital placements for people with a learning disability.

As the lead for the Winterbourne View Joint Improvement Programme, Chris is keen to speak to as many local providers as possible to find out how you can be supported to develop community based solutions as alternatives to inappropriate hospital placements, often made at crisis point.

ARC has committed to help run regional networks that bring together providers with commissioners to help develop effective partnerships and facilitate joint planning, so that the Winterbourne Concordat commitment to rapidly reduce the number of people still in hospital placements by June next year really results in high-quality, community-based support for those individuals.

The third aim in ARC’s new strategy, sets out our commitment to help our members build better relationships with local commissioners. By supporting regional events we aim to create the best opportunities for our members to be fully engaged in the joint strategic planning of local health, housing and care support services that meet the needs of children, young people and adults with challenging behaviour in their area.

Chris is also very eager to hear about local best practice – where providers have taken risks and developed new innovative solutions locally, and where relationships have been improved between providers and local commissioners, resulting in open, honest dialogue and genuinely collaborative working.

We’ll be continuing this conversation with Chris and his growing team over the summer, so please get in touch and tell us what would help you make that sometimes risky first step into extending your offer?

Finally, Chris is also the Keynote Speaker at ARC’s forthcoming Annual Conference and AGM, to be held 3 October in Bristol, where he will be helping to address the role of attitude in driving up the quality of learning disability services. Find out more.

Read more about the Joint Improvement Programme and ARC’s role as a signatory of the Winterbourne View Concordat.

Join the Improvement Programme team – there is an Engagement Adviser Vacancy listed on the ARC website.