ORIGINAL ARTICLE: From inclusion to exclusion: some unintended consequences of Valuing People



Accessible summary:

  • • Valuing People is a policy which aims to help people with learning disabilities become included in all parts of life. It needs money and resources to make it work.
  • • It has worked well for some people but others have had some very bad experiences as a result of how the policy has worked.
  • • This has led to these people not being included, and this is something that nobody intended to happen.
  • • We make some suggestions of how things could be improved, so that the aims of Valuing People can be met.


The paper examines aspects of the implementation of Valuing People by focusing upon four case studies of people, which are representative of a greater number of referrals to an organisation providing support for people with learning disabilities. It shows that despite many positive aspects of the policy, it sometimes fails the most vulnerable, resulting in greater levels of social exclusion for this group. The paper draws on Scull (1983) and Burton & Kagan’s (2006) documentary analysis of Valuing People (Department of Health, 2001) to argue that the policy, in its implementation, is firmly located within the Government’s neo-liberal ideology. The conclusion is that whilst the policy is intended to be one which enhances social inclusion, its implementation has the unintended consequences of social exclusion, which could have been, and still can be, avoided.