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Decoding valuing people

Burton, Mark and Kagan, Carolyn (2006) Decoding valuing people. Disability & society, 21 (4). pp. 299-313. ISSN 0968-7599

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Abstract

Government policy frameworks on the support of disabled people can often be difficult to 'read', as they contain contradictory elements that simultaneously support and confront social processes that create inequalities and oppression. Valuing People (VP), the UK government's policy framework for learning disability (intellectual disability), provides such a context for work that enhances learning-disabled people's inclusion in community and society, and to reverse some of the systemic disadvantage they have experienced. However, as an uneasy amalgam of the progressive and the neoliberal, the romantic and the practical, it has been difficult to evaluate in order to use its opportunities and minimise its dangers. This article attempts to decode VP in terms of ideologies in human services, and the current New Labour policy mix. Its emphases on Person Centred Planning, Direct Payments and employment will be analysed to try to establish what VP means, and to suggest more adequate priorities. This analysis might also be relevant to other sectors where there is a similar problem of decoding their particular policy context.

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