Without access to justice, rights don’t exist

Dimensions is joining forces with Mencap and Choice Support to pilot a new legal coalition to help make sure people with a learning disability and their families get access to social care.

Published 9 May 2018

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Dimensions, Mencap and Choice Support are piloting a new coalition together.

Launched today (9 May 2018) in the House of Lords, the vision of the coalition is to improve the lives of people with a learning disability and their families by making sure that they get the social care that they have a right to.

This objective will be achieved in three ways: by providing legal training to frontline managers so that they can spot when legal support is required, by ensuring easy access to legal information and early legal help to managers, and by gathering data on the need for legal support in order to campaign for this to be made more readily available both legally and nationally.

Legal surgeries have already been planned in certain areas, and a ‘chatbot’ to provide basic advice will also be available to those taking part in the pilot. Legal advice will be provided by a panel which includes seven barristers as well as a clerk to assist with the coordination. The panel has already helped with the drafting of a pre-action letter which managed to get a homeless young man into emergency housing.

Jackie Fletcher, Dimensions Group Director of Quality, Public Affairs & Policy, said: “It is clear that professional and timely legal advice can make a big difference in ensuring that the people we support  and their families can exercise their rights.

“This pilot scheme is a great example of how working in partnership with other providers in our sector can reap dividends by giving us access to the brightest legal minds and first-rate legal support.”

The initial pilot runs from now until September in a small number of locations only, after which its success will be evaluated.