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All Age Learning Disability Team

Criteria for Referral

The All Age Learning Disabilities Team accepts referrals for children, young people and adults who have an identified Learning Disability.

The current Scottish Government Learning Disabilities strategy ‘The keys to life’ (2013) presents a general definition of a learning disability.

People with a Learning Disability have a significant lifelong condition that started before adulthood, which affected their development and which means they need help to:

Complex Needs arise where a person has both a Learning Disability and other identified condition or disability, such as physical and sensory impairment, mental health or behavioural needs.

The term Learning Difficulty is often confused with a Learning Disability and is used by some education services. This term refers to people who have a specific learning difficulty e.g. Dyslexia, ADHD but who do not have a Learning Disability.

The All Age Learning Disabilities team will only accept referrals for children, young people and adults who have a Learning Disability. They may also have additional diagnosed conditions.

It is recognised that Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. People with Autism share a difficulty in making sense of the world but not all people with Autism will have a Learning Disability.

The All Age Learning Disabilities Team will not accept a referral for someone who solely has Autism / Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Learning Difficulty.

It is, however, recognised that a small number of children/adults will have ‘cross cutting’ needs which will make it difficult to establish the presence of a learning disability. In such cases the Team will work jointly with the appropriate social work and health teams to ensure a more detailed assessment can be undertaken to establish if the person has a Learning Disability.

Referral Process

Telephone: 01856873535.

Referrals should be made via the:

All Age Learning Disabilities Team

The Team comprises of:

Adult Eligibility Criteria

High Priority-Critical Risk

This is where a person’s health and safety is at immediate or imminent risk e.g. due to abuse, because of a significant health or disability problem or where someone is terminally ill. A person’s home or care circumstances may be at urgent risk of breakdown placing them at high risk.

People who fall into this category will be allocated a worker on the day of the referral and immediate action will be taken to start an assessment and provide urgent assistance as required.

High Priority-Substantial Risk

This is where the person has a health or disability which threatens their health, safety or independence and where essential personal care needs are not being met or are being met in a way that may put the person at risk. The person’s home situation may be at risk of breakdown, placing the person at a significant risk. The person’s carer may be at risk and they may be unable to continue in their caring role.

People who fall into this category will have a worker allocated to start an assessment within five working days and the duty worker may arrange immediate assistance from a social worker in the All Age Learning Disabilities Social Work Team where this is required.

Medium Priority-Moderate Risk

This is where a person’s situation is causing some difficulty and may pose a moderate risk to health, safety or independence and where managing some personal care needs is problematic or the home situation is difficult but does not pose an immediate risk.

People who fall within the above criteria will have a worker allocated to start their assessment within twenty working days.

Low priority-Low Risk

This is where there is no immediate risk to a person’s health, wellbeing, safety or independence, where personal care needs are met with minimal or no risk and there are supports in place to minimise social isolation.

In the above circumstances, the duty worker may provide general advice and assistance and may direct the person to other sources of support, such as voluntary agencies. Should circumstances change the person can be re- referred or contact the team again to seek additional assessment.

A letter will be sent to the person and the referrer, if appropriate, to advise of this process.


All people, who are allocated to the Learning Disabilities Social Work Team, will be entitled to an assessment of need. For children and young people this will come under the Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) assessment framework and adults via a Self-Directed Support Outcome Focussed Assessment. This assessment covers a self-assessment which you can complete yourself or with help. Carers are also entitled to an assessment of their needs separate from the particular person with learning disabilities.

Self Directed Support

Self-Directed Support legislation (SDS) came into force on 1 April 2014. Its aim is to provide people with freedom, choice, dignity and control. SDS allows people to arrange some or all of the support they need to live as independently as they want to. It can provide alternatives to services and support provided directly by the local authority. This applies to children’s and adult services.

There are four options from which you can choose to have your service delivered through:

What services may be provided?

Orkney has a range of services including respite, day service and accommodation services some delivered by the council and some by other providers to support children and their families, young people and adults. If an assessment identifies a need for services, the Learning Disabilities Social Work Team will, discuss with you the possible range of choices and options to support the outcomes identified in the assessment.

Review Processes

All allocated cases will be reviewed on an annual basis (minimum statutory requirement). The allocated social worker will co-ordinate and chair this review.

Once a care package is established, and it is further assessed that there is no need for continued regular social work involvement the person’s case will be closed or placed “On Review” which means that their case will be reviewed in line with the statutory time requirements. Where possible the same worker will be allocated. However, this will be dependent on availability.

There may also be a need for additional review processes if statutory requirements are identified through Adults with Incapacity, Child or Adult protection legislation, or where changing circumstances suggest a need for review.

Related Sites

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS