Tuesday, 3 October 2017


A class of thinking

If you are concerned for people growing up with developmental disability – yes, that means growing up through childhood, into young adulthood, and beyond – then spare a few moments for a blog-posting by Norman Perrin, and the bizarre world of bureaucracy that this this concerns. I would like to think that everyone responsible for CE services, at any level, is well aware of the practical issues raised there and has an active determination to confront them. I would like so many things.

Norman is referring to the recently published DoLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards).

He quotes from new official guidelines, A check-list offers sample criteria for defining who might require 'constant supervision' and therefore consequential deprivation of personal liberty. There are six undefined criteria. Depending upon how they are understood, I note, I could fail five of them.

A sentence sticks in my mind as epitomising the middle-brow mediocrity, the lack of creative and humane imagination of this exercise, its smug unthinkingness –

Help with cooking a meat and two veg meal.

Who are these people who know so little of the world that they cannot do better than this?

I have already exceed my norm of threescore years and ten. Who knows, I may yet become a 'person' as they increasingly say, apparently not realising the dehumanising force of this word. My skill with the microwave might then amount to naught. Surely such DoLS could never become the subject of inspection.
Before me waiting to be read is my just-arrived copy of Justice for Laughing Boy (coincidentally also notified to me by Norman). What a bunch of second-raters seem to have secured control over what used to be 'good works', not just the levers of power up through 'the system' of course but inevitably from that its Zeitgeist. Ah well, perhaps it was ever thus – but surely, surely, surely we should now be capable of better.

If the price of anything worthwhile in society is indeed eternal vigilance then those who know the lives of those whom they serve have to share the heavy responsibility for maintaining perpetual qui vive for anything (however supposedly beneficial) that bears down upon their clients' well-being – long-term as well as immediate, distal as well as proximal – and doing something about it. CE began in the West intimately associated with the struggle for civil rights. Is that phase now over?


(2017) Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) at a glance, London, Social Care Institute for Excellence

Perrin, N. (2017) His son, my daughter and the gilded cage of Supreme Court judgements – with thanks to Mark Neary, C. E. Jottings, 27 March

Ryan, S. (2017) Justice for Laughing Boy. Connor Sparrowhawk – A death by indifference, London and Philadelphia, Jessica Kingsley

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