Are you doing enough to provide a service to customers with learning disabilities?

Are you doing enough to provide a service to customers with learning disabilities?

A research report has shown that lawyers often struggle to provide consumers with learning disabilities with the specialist support they need.

The research was undertaken by the Norah Fry Research Centre, based at the University of Bristol, on behalf of the Legal Services Board, the Legal Services Consumer Panel and learning disability charity Mencap.

The research showed that whilst some lawyers are skilled in working with people with learning disabilities and adapt their practices to meet the needs of their clients, other lawyers could not be understood, appeared uninterested or were not able to signpost clients to the right specialist support.

The Legal Services Board has written to the legal sectors professional bodies to ask them to consider developing guidelines for all lawyers to help them better understand the support and communication needs of people with a learning disability.

The research identified that people with learning disabilities have a wide range of potential legal needs. These include parents with learning disabilities fighting to keep care of their children, discrimination in the workplace, disputed benefit claims, experiencing bullying and hate crimes.

People with learning disabilities are often unclear how legal services could help them and rely on people close to them for support. Family carers mostly rely on the internet, learning disability charities and support groups for help rather than go to a lawyer, which is seen as a last resort measure.

Do you have any guidelines in place? If not do you think this is something you will consider?

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