During Equalities Questions on Wednesday 30th March, Gedling’s Conservative Member of Parliament Tom Randall said “I very much welcome the passage of the Down Syndrome Bill through Parliament” and went on to ask the Equalities Minister to “commit to consulting people living with Down syndrome and other disabilities during the development of the guidance to ensure that their voices are heard”.
In reply, the Minister for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan MP, said: “Absolutely. That is essential. People with Down Syndrome and other disabilities, as well as their advocates, will be involved in each phase of the development of the guidance.
“There will be a national call for evidence, and a formal consultation on the draft guidance on gov.uk will be available to anyone who wants to share their views. We will provide details of the call for evidence shortly.”
The Down Syndrome Bill requires the Secretary of State to publish guidance to public bodies to ensure they are clear on how they should meet the needs of people with Down Syndrome. It will set out best practice across health, education, social care and housing, giving practical advice on how the appropriate steps can be taken to meet the needs of those with Down's Syndrome when planning, designing and delivering services.
Speaking after Equalities Questions, Tom said, “The guidance produced for public bodies as a result of the Down Syndrome Bill will ensure those living with the condition here in Gedling, and across the UK, receive the support they need to live life to the fullest.
“To provide maximum support, it is vital, that this guidance is developed in consultation with those living with Down Syndrome and I am pleased the Minster for Care and Mental Health has confirmed that this will be the case in each phase of the guides development.”
The Down Syndrome Bill is set to become law in the next few weeks.