Adapted Circles Project

Following an internal survey we discovered that standard Circles were not working for the majority of Core Members who had a recognised Intellectual Disability (ID) and/or Autism. Many Core Members either left Circles early or continued to display sexually inappropriate behaviours.

As a result a pilot project was set up to adapt Circles specifically to meet the needs of this particular group of Core Members. Circles staff undertook these alterations under the guidance of a steering group comprising experts in the field of ID and Autism. Funding has allowed for the setup, running and evaluation of six Circles.

Alterations included:

  • Language used in information packs
  • Additional training for volunteers
  • Materials used within Circles meetings (to reflect adapted treatment methods used within the Criminal Justice System and Health service)
  • Evaluation methodology.

Although the volunteer recruitment and Core Member referral stage of the pilot period has finished, what Circles South East has learnt has informed our participation in the Transforming Care initiative.

Circles South East and the Transforming Care Initiative.

In October 2012 six members of staff at the Winterbourne View home for residents with ID and/or Autism were jailed for abusing those in their care. This led to significant Department of Health scrutiny of arrangements for those placed into secure accommodation either by Local Authorities or sentenced to secure arrangements by Courts under Mental Health legislation.

One major concern to be identified was that certain individuals appeared to have been effectively “forgotten”, living in very costly and restricting environments, well beyond the time when the resource was necessary or even effective. The Transforming Care project is the Government’s response to these findings, and describes the process whereby those residents assessed as suitable are released from NHS care into the care of Local Authorities. This is undertaken as a joint venture whereby both departments work together so that appropriate arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of those being released, and the safety of the communities they are being released into.

With its extensive experience of contributing towards public protection, Circles South East has been invited to be part of the care packages designed for those whose sexual behaviour led to their being detained. In Hertfordshire, one of six areas to be selected by the Department of Health as “fast track” to lead the initiative, we are working as part of a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary package set up to facilitate the safe reintegration of those being released into communities.

If you would like to know more about the initiative, or would like to volunteer in one of the Transforming Care Circles in Hertfordshire, please contact:

T: 01235 816050

E: info@circlessoutheast.org.uk

Circles South East is an organisation dedicated to equal opportunities