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Living Units

November 23, 2016

I’m looking for investors. I need community Partners. I’m going for co-production in a big way. I want to build five developments totalling 100 living units for people with challenging behaviour and complex needs. Nice curved walls. Welcoming communal spaces. Probably positioned near to (or inside) the industrial estate.

I encountered two of my target group yesterday whilst I was accessing the community. There was the woman who stopped dead in her tracks as she got off the bus to read her Facebook messages, causing a pile up behind her. We had nowhere to escape, the driver shut the door and we were driven off to the next stop. Half an hour later, another woman did exactly the same thing as she got off the escalator in Tesco. She was plugged in, so she didn’t hear my plea of “mind out of the way please” leaving me no alternative than to drive my trolley straight into her.

These people have extremely complex needs. Unfortunately, due to their condition, they are unable to show empathy so it was my fault that I ran into the woman on the escalator. These people don’t feel empathy but my goodness, they don’t half feel outrage. (Note to self – must build sensory room in living units). The woman on the bus had absolutely no idea that the five people behind her missed their stop. She had something important to do and it had to be done NOW. This is extremely challenging behaviour that requires a good deal of multi disciplinary input.

But it is important that we encourage these people’s independence whilst acknowledging the risk they pose to the rest of society. Independent studio flats will enable the privacy to text away to their hearts content, whilst the communal spaces will encourage the learning that the world doesn’t revolve around them. (Note to self – must engage an on site positive behaviour support team).

It’s been a bad week for Transforming Care. St Andrews, which already has over 1000 beds is opening another 110 bed ward in January to gobble up another cohort of learning disabled people. Up in Northumberland, a 100 unit Unit is being built, specifically for people with autism and challenging behaviour. The publicity for the place stresses that it will be a place “for people currently in less appropriate settings”. It will be built across the road from a step down unit so presumably this is a step down unit before you go to the step down unit. Then yesterday, the Clan field Post announced the building of 100 one bedroom/studio living units spread over five sites in Hampshire for people with complex needs. A care home with 100 front doors. 63 units have already been planned on four sites, with presumably, the other 37 being built at the development in Winchester.

Complex needs are in the eye of the bebolder.  One man’s challenging behaviour is another man’s completely authentic expression. I wouldn’t trust a single one of the groups usually tasked with diagnosing challenging behaviour. The property developers need the label to generate big bucks. The therapists need the label to trumpet their model. The charities need the label to justify their existence. The industry needs the label for the industry to grow. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the world woke up one day and the whole construct of challenging behaviour was about people who text in public spaces? The industry would remain the same but have a completely new target group.

One thing these places have in common is they never mention a home, a house. People with ” complex needs” have to be painted as such so as to scare off the locals and justify the development. Heaven forbid, a person with autism lived in a normal road with non autistic neighbours. The industry is built on such a fragile illusion, that to call somewhere a home, might cause the entire industry to crumble.

Excuse me but I need to get back to work. I was just taking a break whilst the cement was setting on the 80 bed unit I’m currently building for complex diabetics.


From → Social Care

  1. Tony Osgood permalink

    Entertainingly I’m teaching today on definitions and epidemiology of challenging behaviour… I enjoyed your post hugely! Social construction? (Eye of the beholder!) Pasted a link to this for students.

    Being an old radical, I still enjoy reading pertinent texts from way back when – such as John O’Brien’s ‘Down Stairs That Are Never Your Own’ – found

    Sure, it’s American, and from the 1990s, and sure it refers to the latest serviceland solutions as small group homes – but John’s critique is still current – systems focus on models and facilities, not homes and being who we are. John points out home means ‘a safe place to lie down’.

    Anyhow, as long as you continue to pause from work and write such ruminations and fulminations we will ‘not go gentle into that good night’.



  2. This is the final solution, that successive governments have aimed for, particularly in their creation of the COP and MCA and amendments to the MHA to include autistic and LD..

    Anyone targeted , particularly in a sink school can be labelled with learning disability.

    Read my lasts post on Amy, who died in the Priory at 14 all she had was a list of conduct and gender disorders, more complex needs misconduct..

    As you say, anyone can have complex needs, this is about making huge profit out of anyone they can get, and its getting worse.

    As you can see from my St Andrews Blog posts, they do not even have to account for the number of deaths, let alone service for their £4.000 + per week.

    Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it, other than building more units and harvesting anyone they can ?

    • I did once mention concentration camps in a blog, and your ‘final solution’ reference I think is what this herding people together, taking away rights, demonising (using distancing and othering language) is. Using ‘behaviours’ as a word to hide sadness, despair, searching for meaning.

      Greedy and predatory humans feeding off those who are weaker is so ugly, lacking any noble or civilised evolving of behaviour – humans are much worse than animals.

      • weary mother permalink

        I have discussed the analogy ‘only doing my job; with friends who work in adult care. – and are really good and kind people..
        Every day they must sift (assess) the ‘worth some support’ from the ‘others; who were also so recently viewed as just as worthy and needy of support.

        Some people are hired by the month just to sift – the eligible ‘wheat’ from the ‘others’ – the chaff; Powerless people they have met once only.. –

        These good neighbours and family people – and workers – see people every day who are suffering real neglect and unhappiness – living less than half lives, And they must leave them suffering. To go home to their own so different lives.

        They also see old people living less than half lives struggling on alone to care for their very vulnerable sons and daughters.

        They see people who no longer have any access to health care – while the tug of war over who is ‘responsible’ goes on. And they know some could die waiting.

        They can learn to believe in a few hours of shallow contact to ‘ know’ and control other peoples sons and daughters – and their happiness and lives.. But same would challenge hard right of any who would do same to them and theirs. . Then they can go away – get another job – and leave mum and dad to tidy up – again.

        And those who see all and would – they say they are powerless – to – change it.

        Nothing changes etc if good people just get on with it etc….surely………?

        ‘Just doing my job’ ‘have a mortgage’…etc…been said before ?

        Worth a wider conversation surely?

      • Yes, but if you read my blog google finolamoss, you will see this is all deliberate.

        The state wants to make profit from the needy, and have decided, that those who wish support at home are not profitable enough, so all is done, to force them from their homes, and remove their choices and autonomy, so they become a statistic package for the ever changing company, owned by a large neatly always USA conglomerate profit.

        So people, as you report are employed to give as little support as possible, for maximum profit as well agencies are often paid twice the support worker just for their provision.

        A fortune is spent on assessing covertly to gain evidence for adult services social workers to write court reports to place as many as possible into ever more profitable institutions,

        GPs ARE paid to collude, MASH targets, benefits are cut, no support at home need be given, so it then becomes a safeguarding issue for removal, and then the vulnerable is completely in secret at the mercy of the state machine for maximum profit processing.

        This is a government modus, planned now since before the Mental Capacity Act 2005, so cross party.

  3. Jayne knight permalink

    You have hit it in the head
    If we said everyone from any other ‘group’ in society such as gay people or black people had to be segregated and live in institutions there would be legal cases and uprise because of hard won rights and legislation, power and a decent , pre Trump and Brexit, diverse society
    But put disabled with that and even more learning disabled, even better powerless and no family and you are a priceless commodity that needs to passively accept what you are given and be grateful that these people even think of you in their make money and power business plans
    What works there works for the elderly so don’t think it won’t be the solution for all of us one day!

    • But why are we allowing individuals who cry out for help and are then labelled and removed to become commodities for life ?

      All charities collecting and holding themselves out as fighting for the vulnerable have allowed this to happen.

      It is the worse form of discrimination and does not happen anywhere else in the world why have we let it happen here ?

      Successive governments have planned to convert a quarter of NHS spend to mental health, to deliberately, either directly, as in the venture capital monopoly providers, or indirectly through the employment by charities like ST ANDREWS and recycling of profits the head earns £325,000 PER YEAR and many executives over 100,000 see my blog post, use public funds..

      Eventually, I predict, ST Andrews will be taken over by venture capital.

      It would make a very very profitable investment, and create lucrative buy out opportunities and guaranteed public increasing income with no accountability.

    • Yes, Jayne, the elderly.

  4. Frannie permalink

    I lay awake at night thinking could I get parents to join me to get Nick Knowles to do a DIYSOS home build for families as E byE’s on the Slade site in Oxford that should not be sold off(if hasn’t already been) in memory of Connor Sparrowhawk A home that is a fun respite for our loved ones with intensive support team involved when a crisis,with spa type facilities,gym, cinemas room sensory room, quiet rooms and a nice garden. What a win win that would be and I think a lot cheaper than St Andrews placements that families fear, but time is spent project managing my sons support arrangements to ensure he doesn’t have to go back to an ATU,raising issues no one has answers,managing budgets and trying to ensure I find suitable staff,training and applying for funding means there is hardly time to turn, It is on my bucket list!

    • They are all being bought up by US MENTAL health venture capital, NHS revenue, now provides 87% of their income, and as hospitals command £ 1000 per night, and community living £4000 + per week, its very profitable, that why they are investing big time. Read my blog google finolamoss

  5. techiebabe permalink

    If we didn’t laugh, we’d cry…

    Oh, wait.


  6. “Then yesterday, the Clan field Post announced the building of 100 one bedroom/studio living units in Hampshire for people with complex needs. A care home with 100 front doors.”

    No they didn’t. What the Clanfield Post reported was a 1st phase scheme to build 63 assisted living units in FIVE locations: Basingstoke (2), Aldershot, New Milton and Winchester.

    This 100 bed care home doesn’t exist.

    Also Mark, this programme of work isn’t restricted to only providing accommodation for the learning disabled. The report clearly states that some of these units will be for the physically disabled without learning difficulties.

    Lets look at how Cllr Perry is actually quoted:

    “The approach we are taking is to create modern alternative forms of accommodation which place much more emphasis on people being supported within their own individual homes, enabling them to access the local community and supporting people to be active citizens, engaging in work and learning in their local area.”

    Note the usage of the word “homes” by Cllr Perry. Not units, homes.

    There is a difference between how accommodation is described technically in local authority language (people should really watch planning committee meetings to hear this language) and what it means. We need to look more closely at what’s being proposed as to whether these are homes or something else.

    Lets see how Hampshire County Council’s press release describes the schemes:

    1. Winklebury, Basingstoke – a new development on the former Newman Basset site, comprising two three-bedroom bungalows for people with profound physical disabilities

    2. Chineham, Basingstoke – a new build development in Great Binfields Road, comprising 18 one bedroom flats

    3. New Milton – a new development on land off Forest Oak Drive, comprising 18 one bedroom flats

    4. Aldershot – a new development in Church Lane East, comprising 10 one bedroom flats

    5. The site of the fifth development in Winchester is currently being determined

    So HCC press release doesn’t actually describe accurately their own proposals given what is proposed for the Winklebury site.

    If the 63 units figure is right then the Winchester site will have 15 units in its development.

    Without having access to the planning application, we don’t know how the developments of 18 units x2, 15 units and 10 units will be organised. Will they be organised as sheltered accommodation or as a single building? That makes a big difference to whether these are homes or a new form of residential home.

    If I were to interpret the language used here then I would say that “a new build development” and “a new development” means a single building and multiple buildings respectively. But again, it will come down to design as to whether they are homes or not. Good design can make a difference here.

    There is always a balance here between creating a ghetto that the wider community identifies as being for a certain cohort and the wider community being hostile to that cohort if living independently in the community. There isn’t a right answer here. We can all want full integration but achieving that is another matter.

    So it really depends on whether the values here are progressive. What we do know is that the more independent LD people are, the lower their support needs are. So fiscal probity and progressive values can coincide but its about shifting the framing of learning disabled people.

    There isn’t enough information to warrant any knee-jerk condemnation of these HCC schemes. Perhaps less overreactions and more interrogation is a good thing?

    HCC press release:

  7. Sarah permalink

    The behaviour of the two women definitely resonated with me – I was in a shop on my small mobility scooter last week and the same woman walked backwards into me as I was passing, twice. When I told my daughter that I was fed up with getting bums in my face, she suggested I blew a rape whistle as it is a sexual assault 🙂
    My brother who is 63 and learning disabled lives in a “supported living flat” in a building with 13 other tenants, most of whom he has known for many years. He has support with personal care, meals, finance, shopping etc, and brilliant emotional support when he needs it. I know how lucky we are, the manager and staff are great but under another manager it could be so very different. Thankfully Social Services have minimal input – our past experiences of them were bloody awful and included them making my brother sign a contract for a change in day services when he doesn’t have mental capacity and didn’t know what it meant.

  8. Julie Owen permalink

    I live a spit from Winterbourne View and I know that one of the reasons it failed so badly was they couldn’t recruit or keep staff. One of the guys that went to prison had been hired to work in the kitchen.
    So my question has to be ‘where in the hell are they going to get enough staff to run a 100 bed unit?’
    The guy who does our DBS checks told me lots of providers are using illegal immigrants. So will this be the case for these units? Staff so desperate to get a foot into the UK that they’ll take any job regardless of whether they’ve got the experience or aptitude for that job. Or will they rely on agencies to bridge the gaps.
    You have to ask yourself why did they bother to close the institutions in the first place.

    • Most use bank staff, and agency, who take at least a 50% cut for supplying only,, and have the minimum CQC or less, as this is all about commercial awareness.- profit

      The ‘CARED FOR’ in Winterbourne would be earning on average £4,000 PER week that is certainly enough money, but not enough profit for Casltebeck venure capital owners like Mac Manus Raceowner.

      And no accountability CQC, Police HAD known about Winterbourne for years and done nothing.

      aND nothing was done about the managers or system or accountability in future place just closed down Winterbourne, and similar new one built, and Castlebeck loss offset on balance sheet and sold, and name changed same venture capital owners, same system

      It was only exposed to move public to private money, and they used a private institution as the excuse.

      No one will be living independently with family etc all will be processed for nax profit including that of pharma industry, as was the poor young girl under the Winterbourne View CHAIR, when workers pinched her nose to administer her antipsychotic tablet .

      Now she probably has a patch or depot, and where is she now. and is her life any better still institutionalised? .

      • weary mother permalink


        The after care of those abused and or neglected and then ‘rescued’ from institutions – looks like ?

        My son was supported for a time by a truly wonderful and caring woman who also supported ‘survivors’ of the Long care abuse. (See the heart breaking report of only a decade ago)

        She described one woman who had suffered these long years of sexual and other forms of abuse in this establishment. She was now traumatised and deeply depressed……..and alone.

        She was minimally supported by the LA – who the report stated had for too long ignored warnings of the shocking abuse – and had then fought the justice seeking – self funding families to court door.

        She, some ones child – no longer wise…any wise – surely not ?

        I hope not.

      • But, as you say, this is a decade ago before MCA came into force in 2007.

        It is no longer possible, systemically, to rescue anyone from care abuse.

        Care is now in secret, as parents/family are often cut out, have supervised visits and systemically cannot in any event, do anything about residential service providers abuse/neglect..

        My own daughter, as you see from blog, was abused, but had to herself refuse to go back to residential care, and at 16 was not subject to MCA. AND we had managed to avoid a care order.

        The LA/HSCT that commissioned care, would be liable, if their services were abusive, so all is covered up.

        That is why 3 a day die, and then are certified with natural causes see poor Thomas Rawnsley now the NHS are investigating their own provision.

        The system is sealed, no one now can complain about care abuse, it will not/ cannot be admitted and Police, CQC LA who commissioned do not want to know, erca Winterbourne, known about for years, and those in Winterbourne still effectively in same position in an other institution.

  9. Anne Bonney, Learning and Development Officer, Herefordshire Safeguarding Adults Board permalink

    Dear Mark

    I am currently in the early planning stages of an MCA / DoLS conference for practitioners in Herefordshire and have been given you name by our DoLS lead as a possible speaker. We are hoping to host this on March 28th, although this date is not fixed as yet, between 10.00 and 16.00.

    Could you please advise if you would be able to contribute to this event, I am sure you get many requests such as these, but having last year hosted a CSE conference which had as its guest speaker the mother of Breck Bednar we are well aware of the impact that real life experience can bring to the learning for professionals.

    I look forward to your reply

  10. Julie Owen permalink

    I ran a Dom Care Agency for a while and I can tell you that the profits are negligible unless you are a huge company. Local Authorities are cutting support back to the bare bones and also cutting hourly rates to agencies. They definitely are not looking to put more people into care homes.

    The issue for the NHS I think with regard to community care is that the only model they have is the asylums! I don’t think they’re sticking people into care homes to make money it’s because to start with many of them have been given more responsibility than they have the training or ability to cope with, and the senior staff are still living in the dark ages.
    I don’t think they’ve moved on from the Mental Deficiency Act 1913 and they still think they’re the Board of Control!

  11. Geordie Carer permalink

    Working within Northumberland with people with autism, I have absolutely no knowledge of the proposed 100 bed unit that you reference – could you provide some more details please as this is clearly a very worrying development

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