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Advisory Bodies (Mental Handicap)

Volume 975: debated on Monday 3 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any decisions have yet been made on the future work and role of the advisory bodies in the field of services for mentally handicapped people.

I have now reviewed the work of two advisory bodies in the field of services for mentally handicapped people. After careful thought I have concluded that the National Development Group for Mentally Handicapped, which is a separate central body, will be wound up when it has completed its current task of drawing up a checklist to assist authorities in the monitoring of their services for the mentally handicapped. The Development Team for the Mentally Handicapped, which advises authorities on the development of local services, should continue in being.Since it was set up in 1975, the National Development Group for the Mentally Handicapped has prepared a series of valuable reports covering a wide range of health and personal social services for mentally handicapped people. I believe, however, that authorities now need time to absorb and respond to this advice in the light of local conditions and resources. I have, therefore, decided that it is appropriate to wind the group up at the conclusion of its current task. I hope that authorities will continue to use the group's work to improve services in the field as they think appropriate. For this purpose the group's publications will continue to be available free of charge from the Department.This decision does not affect the Development Team for the Mentally Handicapped, which will continue to offer advice and assistance to individual health and social services authorities in England on the planning and operation of services in their locality. The team's second report, which outlines the work it has done over the past 18 months, will be published early next year.