The National Autistic Society (NAS) has presented a 10,000-strong petition to Parliament calling upon the Government to address the failings in the current system of inspection of adult care services.

This petition, presented to Parliament by John Pugh, MP for Stockport and co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Committee on Health and Social Care, was compiled in the wake of the alleged abuse uncovered by the BBC Panorama programme at Winterbourne View residential home in Bristol. The NAS has welcomed the government's decision to undertake a review of the national lessons to be learnt from Winterbourne View.

The organisation believes the government should consider the following as part of that review:

  • All organisations must create working cultures where abuse is unacceptable and clear polices and procedures are in place to report abuse and wrongdoing 
  • It is vital that individuals working in adult social care have the right attitude to work with vulnerable adults and that they are trained in safeguarding and managing challenging behaviour
  • Robust and rigorous recruitment procedures are essential
  • Specific on-the-job training should be regularly assessed and refreshed
  • Staff must have relevant and specific knowledge of the disabilities they are dealing with to help support individuals appropriately.

Carol Povey, director of NAS Centre for Autism, said: "It is completely unacceptable that any form of abuse by support staff takes place in any care service. It is deeply distressing that these vulnerable adults have been treated so diabolically and the strength of support for urgent action is palpable. In less than two weeks the NAS received over 10,000 signatures to the petition. "The Government and Care Quality Commission (CQC) have a duty of care to protect vulnerable adults from harm and make sure they have the opportunity to live life to the full with dignity and respect. It is vital that the Government seriously considers this petition and uses the expertise of relevant organisations to prevent future abuse." 

Pugh added: "I was deeply shocked by the abuse witnessed in the Panorama programme. The Government must make it a priority to work with providers, commissioners and the CQC to ensure this never happens again. The strength of feeling behind the petition is clear. I urge the Government to look carefully at the NAS' recommendations to make sure that they and others can learn from Winterbourne and improve the level of care for people with disabilities."