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Publication - Report

Learning disability and autism provision in the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2003: findings from a scoping exercise

Published: 12 Jan 2017
Part of:
Health and social care

Findings to help assess provisions for people with learning disabilities and autism in the Mental Health Act.

60 page PDF


60 page PDF


Learning disability and autism provision in the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2003: findings from a scoping exercise
2. Scoping study methods

60 page PDF


2. Scoping study methods

2.1 This chapter provides information about how the scoping study was carried out. As noted in the previous chapter, the scoping study sought to gather views on three main issues:

  • What should the scope of the review be?
  • Who should be involved?
  • How (and with what timescales) should the review be conducted?

2.2 MWC and SCLD commissioned Dawn Griesbach (Griesbach & Associates) to undertake the research for the study.

2.3 Given the short timescales for the work, the objective was to consult key individuals and groups representing a diverse range of views - not to consult every individual, group and organisation that may have an interest or wish to participate in the wider review.

2.4 The scoping study was qualitative in nature. The purpose was to identify the range of views in relation to the three issues above, and to ascertain where there was agreement and disagreement among key stakeholders.

2.5 The work was carried out between May and September 2016 and involved three stages.

Stage 1: Survey of stakeholders (May / June 2016)

2.6 MWC and SCLD produced a discussion document which set out the context for the review. This document was accompanied by a survey containing eight open questions. [5] The survey invited views on the three issues listed at paragraph 2.1 above (i.e. scope of the review; who should be involved; and how it should be conducted). A separate Easy Read discussion document and questionnaire were also produced with assistance from SCLD. Information about the scoping exercise and survey was circulated by MWC and SCLD through their networks and the discussion document and questionnaire were also made available on the MWC and SCLD websites. Respondents were invited to submit their views online (through Survey Monkey), or by email or post. The consultation period was short (six weeks), reflecting its status as a preliminary fact-finding exercise.

Response to the survey

2.7 The survey received 68 responses, of which five were excluded from the analysis. In four cases, this was because the respondent had submitted two identical responses - one by email and one using the online form. One further response was an amended version of an earlier response; the earlier response was removed and the later response was included in the analysis.

2.8 Thus, analysis was based on 63 responses, 37 from individuals and 26 from organisations or groups (Table 2.1). One of the individual responses and two of the organisational / group responses were submitted using the Easy Read questionnaire.

Table 2.1: Number of responses to the survey

Respondent type n %
Individuals (including one Easy Read response) 37 59%
Organisations (including Easy Read responses from two groups) 26 41%
Total 63 100%

2.9 Organisational respondents comprised NHS bodies, local authorities and health and social care partnerships; third sector organisations; professional and regulatory bodies; and advocacy, campaign or service-user groups (Table 2.2). A complete list of organisational respondents is attached at Annex 1.

Table 2.2: Organisational respondents to the survey

Organisation type n %
NHS bodies, local authorities and health and social care partnerships* # 12 46%
Third sector organisations 6 23%
Professional / regulatory bodies 4 15%
Advocacy, campaign or service-user groups 4 15%
Total** 26 100%

* Includes two responses representing teams based across more than one organisation

# Includes one response in which the respondent indicated she was also responding in her capacity as chair of two professional groups

** Percentages do not total 100% due to rounding.

2.10 Those completing the questionnaire in an individual capacity were asked to provide information about their interest in the review, and 34 of the 37 individual respondents did so. In 21 cases, respondents indicated a professional interest in that they worked in an NHS, local authority or voluntary sector organisation (one respondent reported multiple roles). In 12 cases respondents identified themselves as having a personal interest: i.e. they had a learning disability or autism (one person), or they were a parent / carer of a person with a learning disability or autism; in one case, the respondent indicated they were involved in a mental health group. One respondent with a personal interest in the issue also reported they were employed in the NHS, although it is not clear if this role was directly relevant to the issue under consideration. In three cases, respondents did not provide any information to enable further classification.

2.11 Not all respondents answered all the questions posed. Response rates ranged from 88% for Question 2 to 50% for Question 3. See Annex 1 for details.

Stage 2: Interviews with selected individuals / groups (June / July 2016)

2.12 A mix of telephone and face-to-face interviews were carried out with representatives of relevant organisations and groups to explore issues in more depth. Interviewees were chosen by MWC and SCLD to provide a range of perspectives and comprised representatives of relevant professional groups (including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, British Psychological Society, Social Work Scotland, Learning Disability Nursing Forum, Law Society of Scotland); organisations with specific duties under the 2003 Act (Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland); third sector organisations working with people with learning disabilities and autism; academic experts; and advocacy and campaign groups.

2.13 Altogether, 18 interviews were carried out. In some cases, interviews involved two or more people. In addition, two group discussions were held with: a) four representatives of People First and b) eleven members of the Scottish Government's 'Keys to Life' Expert Group. [6] Annex 2 contains a list of the organisations / groups which took part in interviews.

Stage 3: Workshops (August / September 2016)

2.14 Following an analysis of the survey and interview data, two briefing papers were produced summarising the main findings. Briefing Paper 1 discussed findings in relation to the scope of the review and Briefing Paper 2 discussed findings in relation to the conduct of the review (including who should be involved in the review).

2.15 These two papers provided a basis for further discussion at two workshops held in Glasgow (August 2016) and Edinburgh (September 2016). The stated aim of the workshops was to explore specific issues in more depth. Attendees were invited to comment on preliminary conclusions about the scope of the review drawn from the findings of the survey and interviews. In addition, people's views on different aspects of the conduct of the review were explored further - particularly where the survey and interviews had identified a divergence in views.

2.16 The first workshop focused on autism and the second focused on learning disability. Workshop participants included both private individuals and those representing relevant organisations or groups. Participants were selected because of their personal or professional experience in relation to these conditions, and to ensure a range of views were represented. Some of the workshop participants had contributed to one or both of the earlier stages of the scoping exercise and some had not. Annex 2 includes a list of the organisations and groups represented at the workshops.