ARC was established to promote the quality of life, maintenance of standards and diversity of provision for people with a learning disability.

ARC was founded in 1976 and now has established offices in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Our aim is to further the work and developments of ARC within the UK. We continue to raise funds from membership, though this only goes a little way in covering these core needs. Other sources of funding come from charitable fundraising and earned income from training. Most research and consultation income comes from specific project grants, which may only be spent, on the work of those projects.

Given the changing nature of services within the learning disability sector away from the traditional model of residential care, to a Supported Living model,. ARC positioned itself to become the first organisation of choice for Independent Sector providers. It also attracted other provider organisations that had not formed a large proportion of its membership such as user groups which provide services.

ARC has a history of supporting staff development, and the development of best practice, which goes back to the early 80s with the ARC Distance Learning Modules. This was followed by STAMP that supported and organised the process of achieving NVQs.

During the 90s ARC produced a number of publications around the topic of abuse, all funded by the Department of Health in England:

  • It Could Never Happen Here
  • There Are No Easy Answers
  • Action Against Abuse
  • Equipped to Cope
  • Managers in the Middle
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Him
  • Facing the Possibility
  • The Day We Found Her Crying

A number of practice based handbooks were also produced, again with DH funding:

  • Your Place or Mine? for those delivering services to people with a learning disability who live in their own homes,
  • Preparing for a Positive Future, offering guidance with the provision of ongoing support and care to older people who have a learning disability.
  • One by One, looking at how successful services are at delivering individualised packages of care.

The end of the 90s and early 2000 saw ARC secure grants for work which related to training and workforce development and planning:

  • Training and Development Outcomes Index
  • Training Networks Project – Lottery funded
  • Training Care Staff – ESF funded
  • Managers as Trainers
  • Learning Disability Awards Framework
  • Topss contract to develop induction and foundation standards
  • Topss contract to develop Registered Managers Award
  • Recruitment & Retention of Care Staff
  • Getting the Best from Agencies

In 2000 ARC started to develop its expertise in issues of ethnicity, with a large DH funded project – Services for All, followed by a project to look at housing options for people with a learning disability from minority ethnic groups, which was funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The Diana Fund made a large grant to develop an Ethnicity Network for young people for the Moving on Up project.

ARC was heavily involved in the production of the Ethnicity Toolkit for the Learning Disability Partnership Boards and organised a series of regional conference events to launch it.

Meanwhile, ARC continued to attract funding for other areas of practice and produced:

  • My Life After School
  • Challenged by Complexity
  • Telling it Like It Is!
  • A Lifetime of Care

The Lottery funded Roaming Resources, which offered thousands of pounds worth of training materials for loan to ARC members around the UK, was also started at this time. ARC also started the process of regionalisation in 2000, with support from the Community Fund, and at one point had a regional office in each of the nine government regions.

On the training and staff development front ARC secured representation on every Regional Topss Committee, along with Topss England and the UK Partnership, and was a lead partner for a number of Topss funded partnerships for three years. These projects channelled almost £1 million of training funding to the Independent sector.

ARC continued to support the LDAF development team, and the development of awards at level 4, and units for childcare and carers. Activity in ARC’s NVQ Training Consortium continued to be high with 1500 assessors, 3500 S/NVQ candidates and almost 800 RMA (Registered Manager’s Award) candidates.

The European Social Fund was a successful route for funding activity towards qualifications, with a project to qualify Assessors in Care, and a very large project to support employers to deliver a LDAF accredited Induction and Foundation to new staff.

ARC has a valuable function in representing the views and interests of learning disability providers in various regional and forums. ARC continues to support members to respond to consultations, having had influence on the development of the National Minimum Standards for older people, younger adults, and domiciliary care and reviews of the National Occupational Standards for care.

ARC is a member of Care Provider Alliance that brings together a number of umbrellas involved in the provision of community care services.