Scott Watkin, the former co-national director for learning disability in the government’s Valuing People Now Team, is joining Mencap.

Watkin joins on secondment initially, before taking up a permanent role in June 2011 as the charity’s national learning disability consultant. He will act as a spokesperson and ambassador for Mencap and will help develop a new programme that will encourage other people with learning disabilities to become ambassadors in different parts of public life, such as the arts or sport. Watkin will also continue to champion some of the key priorities of the Valuing People Now strategy, including health, housing, self-advocacy and employment.

Watkin said: “Valuing People Now has made a big impact on the lives of people with a learning disability and I hope to continue some of this good work at Mencap. I believe that the main challenges in the future will be encouraging people with a learning disability to speak up for themselves locally, to get real jobs, good healthcare and personalised support services.”

Mencap’s chief executive, Mark Goldring, added: “I’d like to welcome Scott Watkin to Mencap. As part of the central team of the Valuing People Now programme, Scott has made an impressive contribution to raising the profile of issues concerning people with a learning disability. “He is joining the charity at an important time as decisions are being made both nationally and locally that affect the lives of people with a learning disability. We hope to benefit from Scott’s expertise in order to influence how we better support and advise our beneficiaries to speak up for their rights and their future.”