Winterbourne View – Time for change

On 31 May 2011, a BBC Panorama programme exposed systemic abuse of people with learning disabilities and autism at the Winterbourne View care home. Owned by Castlebeck Care Ltd, Winterbourne View was an independent sector hospital that took NHS-funded patients.

In its response to the Winterbourne View scandal in December 2012, the Department of Health established the 'Transforming Care' programme to reform services for people with learning disabilities and autism. However, progress was slow, and a central promise to enable anyone inappropriately placed in hospital care to receive community based support by June 2014 was not fulfilled.

In this context, NHS England commissioned Sir Stephen Bubb, supported by a Transforming Care and Commissioning Steering Group, to report on how to progress with reforming care and support for people with learning disabilities and autism, and their families.

The report – published in 2014 – emphasised the continual failure of past attempts to reform care for people with learning disabilities and autism, despite consensus on what needed to be done.

The recommendations in the report, published in 2014, focused on five main themes:

  • strengthening rights
  • improving commissioning
  • closures of inpatient institutions
  • building capacity in the community
  • holding people to account.

Recommendations included for the government to:

  • legislate for a Charter of Rights for people with learning disabilities and their families and require commissioners to use this as a basis for local commissioning plans
  • establish a £30m Investment Fund to reduce reliance on inpatient services and invest in community services
  • enable more people with learning disabilities and/or autism to have a personal health budget (PHB)
  • collaborate with NHS England, local government, and people with learning disabilities and autism and their families.

Following the report, in January 2015, NHS England, the Department of Health, the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care, the Care Quality Commission and Health Education England jointly committed to a new Transforming Care delivery board, in ‘Transforming Care for People with Learning Disabilities – Next Steps’.


Department of Health.
Transforming care: a national response to Winterbourne View Hospital.
Department of Health; 2012.

Bubb S.
Winterbourne view–time for change.
NHS England; 2014.

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Care Quality Commission, Department of Health, Health Education England, Local Government Association and NHS England.
Transforming Care for People with Learning Disabilities–Next Steps.
Department of Health; 2015.

Hardy R.
Bubb report into care of people with learning disabilities: views from the sector.
The Guardian; 26 November 2014.