The Delusion of Inclusion (Continues)

Catchup No.8

First posted  on my Facebppk site 2 March ·

The Delusion of Inclusion (Continued)

My last posting referred to David Towell’s dependence on the box ticking exercise embedded in UN Declarations to provide justification for the King’s Fund Centre’s radical one-size fits -all ‘inclusion’ proposals. My posting concluded with reference to the nature and validity of support that was given to the KFC from the Independent Development Council for People with Mental Handicaps with the publication of: ‘Living like other people’ (1985)

Today, there is need to look at the background to ‘Living like other people’, published in April 1985 by the Independent Development Council (IDC) to understand how IDC came about.

The concepts of the IDC organization were usurped from the valuable work of the highly qualified and experienced team based at the Hester Adrian Research Centre, Manchester University, between 1968 -1982. The HARC had an incredible record of successful research projects including an intensive 5 years study (1972-1977), of day centres in England and Wales. The National Development Group with access to this wealth of expertise and experience were founded and based at the Hester Adrian Research Centre between 1975 – 1980 during which time it published NDG Pamphlet 5, the most successful source of support for positive progress in day care social history.

Following the disbandment of the National Development Group in 1980, the King’s Fund Centre under the leadership of its Fellow in Health Policy and Development, David Towell, seized the opportunity in 1981 to gather a group of reputable individuals and charitable organisations under the chairmanship of Brian Rix to create the Independent Development Council (IDC), which identified within its front cover the aims of the Council:

“To establish effective new means of providing informed and independent policy advice on all aspects of services for people with mental handicap and their families at national level, to build on the previous work of the National Development Group for the Mentally Handicapped, to offer strategic advice on the development and practical implementation of policies to relevant government departments and other concerned bodies. to offer advice on good practice and the local action necessary to introduce and sustain better services.”

So just how qualified within four years of its formation was the IDC able to have acquired the knowledge and skills to provide the range of services and assume the status formerly held by the National Development Group? The short answer that they were definitely not – for the IDC publication ‘Living like other people’ did not challenge but strongly reinforced the views expressed in the King’s Fund Project Paper No. 50. But this did not deter the King’s Fund Centre from recognizing its limitations, for the unquestioning support of all the major charitable organisations regardless of the irrationality of its proposals gave it unjustifiable credibility.

So began the 30 year process of misleading carers and the general public into the sense of false complacency that the wellbeing of their adult children was in good and capable hands – a process that has continued and is still continuing today. If I should seem cynical in believing that the King’s Fund Centre was manipulating the main charities under the chairmanship of Brian Rix, let me point out the following.

The HQ of the IDC was based at the HQ of the KFC, 5 members of the KFC, including its spokesman, David Towell, were on the IDC Council, and a member of the KFC staff was highly commended for her contribution to editing the contents of the IDC publication ‘Living like other people’ (1985).

Even so, the full extent of the damage that the KFC intervention could do has yet to be exposed by the unwelcome involvement of yet other irresponsible and misguided individuals and one particular organization.



The Delusion of Inclusion (Continued)

Catch Up No.7

First posted on Facebook

28 February ·

The Delusion of Inclusion.(Continued)
David Towell. spokesperson, and former advisor to the King’s Fund Centre (KFC) , as a Fellow in Health Policy and Development, states with regard to ‘inclusion’ policies that:
“…the best current starting point is widely agreed amongst disabled people and their families to be the 2006 UNCRPD and the General Comments which seek to advance its implementation. This is clearly a 21st Century agenda for inclusion!”
The declaration of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is, to my mind, just a box ticking exercise full of great hopes and expectations. I wonder how many families have actually heard about it? It is being used to justify the ghastly mistakes that misguided ‘inclusion’ proponents and organisations such as the King’s Fund Centre group have inflicted upon innocent victims.
To rectify the damage already done there is need to go back, as I have already done, to identify the prime proponents for supporting a one-size- fits- all ‘inclusion’ policy. The King’s Fund Centre could not have gained momentum for its drive to phase out vital structured and specialist support under its own steam, for the publication initially passed without interest or obvious comment.
It is necessary to look closer at the organisations and individuals that gave the KFC credibility it did not deserve, and in this respect the first major culprits were all the charitable organisations that did not challenge proposals that were so obviously fundamentally flawed. At that time, even the ‘man in the street’, with limited knowledge, could see how irrational these proposals were.
But what was to follow will raise searching questions about the nature and validity of support that was received from the Independent Development Council for People with Mental Handicaps with the publication of : ‘Living like other people’ (1985).
More details to follow.
Does all this historical stuff really matter? Yes, because it has so far been covered up very effectively by the individuals, academics, and organisations that are responsible for the current policy debacle and would much prefer that it remains covered up regardless of the cost to the families concerned


The Delusion of Inclusion


First published my Facebook page 25th February 2017

The first posting appended is a comment from David Towell, a spokesperson  and former leading figure in the Kings Fund Centre around the late 1970s / 1980s when the action was taking place.


David Towell. Those of us who have taken the trouble to read many of Charles’s very many postings over the last 30 years will certainly know by now that he is forever stuck with the idea that a 1977 pamphlet from the NDG should remain, 40 years later, the peak of our aspirations for the daily lives of people with learning disabilities. Fortunately, many people working locally, like Lawraine and her network have demonstrated that a better world is possible for Lawraine’s daughter and indeed everyone who can find a similarly supportive network, despite the hugely damaging effects of ‘austerity’ on people who need the help of publicly funded services. (Actually that is all of us.) Meanwhile the highest authority the world has created in the defence of human rights, the United Nations, has generated international support for a Convention, the UNCRPD, which Charles would doubtless describe as based on ‘extreme normalisation/inclusion dogmas’ whatever that means: it’s not, it’s based on the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


My response the same day on Facebook (25th February 2017

‪Charles Henley‪ An interesting response, David, but you are a little out of date. In my book: LEARNING DISABILITIES The Rise and Potential Demise of Structured Day Services for Adults with Learning Disabilities 1955 – 2005, sent to you April 2007, you will find I covered the later Declaration of Rights (1975) fairly comprehensively.

What I mean by ‘extreme normalization/inclusion dogmas’ are of the nature of the irrational proposals put forward by normally reputable organisations such as the King’s Fund Centre in 1984.and subsequently by the Independent Development Council in 1985. These encouraged the decimation of successful structured and specialist services including special needs sections in day centres by proposing that all of the attendees could be found paid jobs or spend up to 4 – 5 days per week for years at colleges of FE. I still await , as I have done for many years, your justification for such irresponsible proposals.

‪In the meantime, I add the comment made in my book with regard to the UN Declaration:‪ “It is worthy of note that whilst the UN declaration proposed that handicapped people should benefit from the right to have access to ‘a life as normal and full as possible’ it did not contend that this should preclude associating with their own peer groups. Nor did it imply that to share the company or activities of other handicapped people is demeaning or devaluing. It will later become apparent that these perceptions were, however, strongly held by some influential factions of the ‘normalisation’ lobby and were instrumental in supporting calls for extreme radical change. This major divergence of opinion was to become one of the major issues in subsequent debates – and still remains a central issue of dissention at this present time.”

‪You have been living in another world, David, I note that when you sought support 35 years ago you did not turn to the real hands-on international expert on ‘inclusion’ theories, Professor Wolf Wolfensberger (USA), but instead to another of the ‘thinking’ and ‘philosophizing’ breed.

‪There is still much to be debated if events affecting the interests of carers, their adult children, and the general public are to be to be explored and fair judgements made. I will be making my own comments on my facebook page and welcome you to join me with your own unmoderated comments. Charles Henley


Direct Contact with Senior Government Leaders.

Last week I received a cordial response to my email of the 7th August to Sir Chris Mormald from Gareth James who is the Government Lead for Policy and Strategy /Dementia and Disabilities. Gareth outlined in detail why he believes the present policy to be on course and making headway. Unfortunately, although I do not doubt his sincerity and goodi ntentions, I fear he has been grievously misled. Accordingly, I have sent him the following response.



Dear Gareth,

I thank you, and Sir Christopher, for your detailed and interesting response of the 20th September to the points that I initially raised. However, I regret that these do not allay my concerns that the current learning disability policy is representative of a rudderless ship heading for the rocks without a captain at the helm. The failure of your predecessors to exercise due diligence before accepting and implementing policy guidance, coupled with the failure of contemporary academics and charitable organisations to effectively explore and challenge questionable doctrines, has had catastrophic social and financial consequences. There is ample evidence to support the opinion that sound and viable policies were displaced by misguided and blatantly irrational theories and that the effects have been covered up for decades.

The core issue has been the distinction between ‘evolutionary’ and ‘revolutionary’ principles. The conviction held by practitioners and realists, based on the pioneering work of distinguished academics of the 1950s/60s, is that structured and specialist input should be applied where necessary to meet the needs of people with all levels of ability – this worked!  On the other hand, revolutionary academics and philosophers believe that a welcoming community will take care of all needs at all levels, mainly by getting everybody into paid employment – this has manifestly not worked!

The latter group could be termed ‘fringe people’ as, invariably, they have been involved in one or more aspects of very complex areas of need and fixated on these whilst ignoring the bigger picture. Yet it is this group that have had the power to manipulate policy direction for the past quarter of a century, and have now embedded a mind-set in their current peer group that perpetuates misguided idealism. Unless the fragility of their doctrines is exposed, this will continue to hold back any hope of progress towards a rational, viable, financially sound, national policy.

50 years ago, along with the Scandinavian countries, we were recognised as world leaders in this field. Today, recurrent scandals such as Winterbourne View, which were predictable and avoidable, emphasize just how low our international reputation and standards have sunk because of politically correct speculation.

For many years, I have appealed to influential individuals and organisations, personally and through publications in professional journals, for an objective and informed debate in the public domain. As recent events confirm that the ‘fringe’ element are still ominously active and influential, I no longer consider this to be the solution. The amount of human suffering and waste of taxpayers’ money are of such magnitude that surely the irresponsibility of your predecessors should be called to account, and carers and frustrated practitioners should be enabled to have their voices heard.

You have a critical role within which you are dependent upon accurate and verifiable feedback. Regrettably, it is patently clear that even, at the highest levels at which conferences are taking place, the government continues to be misled by the distortion of the developmental history of learning disability policies. I now believe it is in the interests of all concerned that former damaging misconceptions should be rectified and the role of ‘fringe’ elements critically scrutinised. It would appear that something like a Judicial Review would provide a more appropriate solution.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Henley

Catch Up No 5 The Delusion of Inclusion


Charles Henley
First posted on Facebook 23 February ·2017
Further to yesterday’s facebook posting – “who supported the King’s Fund Centre in the early and later 1980s”?
This refers of course to the KFC proposals in 1984 that getting all people regardless of severity or profoundness of learning disability into paid jobs would justify the withdrawal of specialised and structured support. This would include special care units within day centres.
The answer raises many questions that have never been effectively debated with the outcome being a failure of successive governments to restore stability to a formerly rational care in the community policy.
The KFC gained its initial main support from Mencap, followed shortly afterwards by local authorities (LAs), and ever since by the support of a succession of consultants to whom LAs have turned for guidance. (Much more to follow on this later.)
The painful truth is that there are no longer recognised experts on policy direction such as the Professors Jack Tizard, Neil O’Connor, Alan and Ann Clarke and Herbert Gunzberg who promoted genuine inclusion policies so effectively in the formative years of care in the community. There remains just very few followers of their calibre and quality, but they are overwhelmed by a mass of misleading information and lack of support from influential sources.
Local authorities, having disposed of their experts in this field, especially experienced mental welfare officers now turn to individuals and organisations that have set themselves up as ‘experts’ in the vacuum that followed. Yes, there are real experts in areas concerned with specific aspects of learning disabilities who rightly deserve recognition – but not concerning policy direction.
The current state of policy direction speaks for itself as it appears to move away from the values of hands-on experience and come under the domain of philosophers with a wealth of imagination.
Hence the need for open debate so that the voices of genuinely concerned carers can be heard. In this respect, I still await a response from Mencap re my proposal that they sponsor an independent debate in the public domain!
In the meantime, as my next posting will outline,, I am prepared to use my own facebook page as an interim option to raise further questions about how seriously carers have been misled and their family members deprived of choice

CATCH UP No 4 The Delusion of inclusion First posted Facebook February 22nd 2017



Charles Henley The Delusion of Inclusion
Before referring to the connection between the central items mentioned on yesterday’s posting I must point out that the process of change of policies takes time – years in fact.
As an instance, current policy shambles are hardly testimony to the success of ‘Valuing People’ (2001), which, despite the attempted resuscitation, ‘Valuing People Now’ (2009), appears to have done little in fifteen years to avert or remedy the effects of the Winterbourne View scandal – or halt the continuing spiral of decline in service support.
Time then to return to the remarkable progressive advancement in day service modernisation between the publication of National Development Group Pamphlet 5 (1977) and the totally misleading and denigrating publication of the King’s Fund Centre’s, ‘An ordinary working life’ (1984) – a mere 7 years. This exposes and confirms the fragility and danger of the foundation upon which current extreme normalization/inclusion dogmas have been built – not just nationally, but internationally!
The King’s Fund Centre working group had clearly not fully read or absorbed the extensive work carried out at the Hester Adrian Research Centre – or carried out detailed research of its own. Although the King’s Fund Centre’s advisory panel were aware of the potential risks of re-institution being a high possibility they still encouraged the decimation of services vital to the wellbeing of the most severely and profoundly disadvantaged victims of today’s policies.
More tomorrow; who supported the KFC in the early and later 1980s?

The Delusion of Inclusion – Catch Up No.3


First posted Facebook 21st February 2017

The Delusion of Inclusion – will it be exposed in time to reverse the ultimate termination of care in the community?
And so we roll into 2017 with daily debates reminding us constantly of the chaos that surrounds social care funding, and the seemingly total failure of the NHS/local government organisations to identify a clear strategy to enable inmates in NHS and ATUs to escape from truly segregated establishments.
Every week that goes by ensures that carers and their families become more entangled in the web of duplicity that current policy makers have created to meet their own agendas – yet, amongst the carers there are sadly “none so blind as those who do not want to see”!
Those people most profoundly and severely affected still have most to lose as the “delusion of inclusion” continues to control policy direction. This is inevitable until the historic values preached and practiced by the original pioneers of rational care in the community policies are resurrected and valued for what they can offer – especially to those in ATUs and NHS beds.
So far, I have only drawn attention to the bizarre intervention of the King’s Fund Centre (KFC)I in 1984 that gave extreme normalisation/ inclusion dogmas unjustifiable and irresponsible credibility. This has grown so much out of proportion internationally there is need to look closer at its origins. The KFC document at the time was so irrational that it would have been treated with contempt and bypassed had it not received highly dubious and unwarranted support and publicity. Mencap and other local authorities have much to answer for in this respect. More tomorrow.

In closing today, I must mention a positive aspect of social history which will have a great deal of relevance with regard the information that is yet to follow. It is significant to note that whilst the proposals of the KFC were based on fantasies and conjectures, the successful development of day services in the 1980s was based on extensive research much of which was carried out at the Hester Adrian Research Centre, Manchester University in the 1970s under the supervision of Professor Peter Mittler.
Two highly important publications that followed were ‘A national survey of Adult Training Centres in England and Wales, (1977), and National Development Group Pamphlet 5 (1977) which gave extensive and detailed advice regarding the future modernisation of day centres.
This advice was warmly welcomed and acted upon by progressive day centre management with remarkable results. The negative outcome and the consequences that were to arise through the intervention of the King’s Fund Centre and its manipulation of the role of the National Development Group are open to question.