Services for people with disabilities

Information on our services for people with disabilities

Our aim is to help disabled people live as independently as possible, by planning ahead early, and to remove some of the barriers that affect people transferring between children and adults social care services.

Our Disability Service

Instead of having separate services for children and adults we have formed a single Disability Service for anyone with a lifelong disability. We believe that this will take away some of the barriers that used to exist when some people transferred between children and adults social care services. Find out more about our service and our life planning approach.

Disability service and our approach to life planning

The disability service is for residents with lifelong disabilities. 

If you are disabled, we believe the Disability Service will help you to:

  • have as much choice and control as possible over your life
  • help identify your needs, wishes and aspirations for how you want to live, early on and this will help us plan for these
  • improve your health and wellbeing
  • live as independently as possible
  • be involved in your local community  
  • have access to housing, employment, training  
  • identify and plan for your future support needs, particularly into older age
  • have a plan in place for when you are older and your parents or carers are no longer able to care for you

Life plan approach

We are introducing a ‘life planning approach’ as we believe this will help us to plan and deliver our services better.

A life planning approach means that we listen and learn about what is important to the disabled person now and in the future. It helps us understand the current and future levels of care and support needs and how we should be providing good services which make a difference to people’s lives. 

Who can get a life plan

You can get a life plan at any age. If you are receiving specialist services from the life planning teams it is likely that you will be eligible for a life plan.

You may already be getting services from the life planning team such as:

  • day care
  • respite/short breaks
  • residential care
  • being a disabled child being looked after by the local authority
  • have complex, on-going health care needs

If you are likely to continue to require these services and any additional identified services long term, it is likely that you will have a life plan.

Whether you need a life plan might be identified through assessments or reviews of other plans you have. We do not want the life plan to replicate information that is in other plans, or for you to have to repeat information or be ‘re-assessed’ for a life plan.

We will review all the people we are working within the life planning teams to see if they are eligible for a life plan, over the next twelve months of the new Disability Service being set up.

The purpose of the life plan is to identify services you may need in the future and the cost of these, so that we can make sure that we have these in place.

If you do not need a life plan we have support workers who are able to provide support to disabled people who just need a ‘low level’ of support to help them.

They may not need this support long term, and by providing this support at the right time when they need it, may help prevent things getting into a ‘crisis’, where more costly specialist support is required.

Support disabled people may be getting from the Disability Service, can include:

  • family support
  • respite and short breaks
  • individual budgets
  • help with equipment and adaptations
  • support from Heathway Resource Centre

We want to work closely with voluntary groups in the community, so that they adopt the principles of life planning and we will make the life plan template available to them. These organisations may also identify disabled people who need particular services now and in the future. This early identification of the services people need will help us to plan much better and talk to the providers of these services or identify new providers we need to talk to.

The Life Planning Team

The Life Planning Team are here to help you decide what kind of care, support and services you need, and to help you organise it. We can help you to plan your care and support and help to arrange services.

The Life Planning Team can offer:

  • information, advice and support
  • assistance from social workers, nurses, doctors and a number of different therapies
  • support services, if you need them, which can help you looking after yourself
  • assistance with finding a job
  • help to find activities that interest you to do in during the day or in the evening
  • help to make sure you are safe

We can help you if:

  • you live in the borough
  • you have a learning disability
  • you are a young adult coming into adulthood
  • you can get in touch with us yourself if you wish or you could ask someone else to contact us on your behalf

We will need to carry out an assessment to see what kind of care and support you may need. We will ask you questions about the things you find easy and hard to do, and about your daily living. There will also be questions about things like money, but we can help you, and you can ask a friend or relative to help as well.

Find out more information on what an assessment is.

Your assessment will be free. You might have to pay for the services we offer, but we will explain that to you.


Adults - 020 8227 5432

Children - 020 8227 3881

Disability service access officers

The role and purpose of the Access Officer is:

  • to be the specialist officer in the council responsible for increasing awareness of the needs of disabled people, the Social Model of Disability and the Equality Act 2010
  • to promote an accessible environment across the borough for the whole community in line with the community priority of promoting equal opportunities and celebrating diversity
  • to liaise with officers, e.g. architects, planning, housing, community groups and local residents across the council to ensure that access issues are considered when service improvements are being considered for the built environment
  • to manage audits of buildings and street scene to ensure that disability issues are highlighted and responded to, e.g. dropped kerbs, ramps to building entrances, induction loops, etc.
  • to promote access improvements in partnership with the local Access Group and local voluntary groups
  • to advise on all aspects of good practice and legal requirements regarding access issues
  • to ensure effective consultation takes place with local disabled people on new developments which affect access
  • to comment on planning applications against best practice and guidance (eg Part M, Building Regulations and Wheelchair Housing) and recommend and negotiate improvements where appropriate
  • to provide services that are fair and accessible to all, challenging practices that do not support this, and providing a high standard of customer service
  • to ensure equality of opportunity in service standards and delivery


07772 232 127

Eat well, live an active life, feel great

The Eat well, live an active life, feel great Project (ELF) is sponsored by the Public Health Programme and aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities (LD) in Barking and Dagenham. The general level of health for people with LD is poorer than that of the general population but much of this is related to lifestyle.

The ELF Project aims to assist people to make healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes via a programme of activities for clients. This has led to some impressive results in the last year, such as clients increasing physical activity, losing weight, and becoming more aware of healthier options.

There are 3 aspects to the project:

  • Healthy Eating
  • Let’s Get Physical and
  • Take Control of Your Health

The programme of activities includes healthy eating courses & ‘Come Dine with Me’ sessions. Dance aerobics, Zumba, gym exercise, football, cycling and ranger walks, 'Slimming World' and healthy lifestyle courses and sessions.


Healthy Lifestyles Team

020 8724 8018

Annual health checks

The annual health check scheme is for adults and young people aged 14 or above with learning disabilities who need more health support and who may otherwise have health conditions that go undetected.


People aged 14 and over who have been assessed as having moderate, severe or profound learning disabilities, or people with a mild learning disability who have other complex health needs, are entitled to a free annual health check.


People with learning disabilities often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services. Research shows that regular health checks for people with learning disabilities often uncover treatable health conditions. Most of these are simple to treat and make the person feel better, while sometimes serious illnesses such as cancer are found at an early stage when they can be treated.

The annual health check is also a chance for the person to get used to going to their GP practice, which reduces their fear of going at other times.

How to get an annual health check

Adults and young people aged 14 or above with learning disabilities who are known to their local authority social services, and who are registered with a GP who knows their medical history, should be invited by their GP practice to come for an annual health check.

What's involved

The annual health check lets the person with learning disabilities go to their GP practice and have aspects of their health checked. It also allows them to talk about anything that is worrying them.

During the health check, the GP or practice nurse will carry out the following for the patient:

  • a general physical examination, including checking their weight, heart rate, blood pressure and taking blood and urine samples
  • assessing the patient's behaviour, including asking questions about their lifestyle, and mental health
  • a check for epilepsy
  • a check on any prescribed medicines the patient is currently taking
  • a check on whether any chronic illnesses, such as asthma or diabetes, are being well managed
  • a review of any arrangements with other health professionals, such as physiotherapists or speech therapists

If the person's learning disability has a specific cause, the GP or practice nurse will often do extra tests for particular health risks. For people with Down's syndrome, for example, they may do a test to see whether their thyroid is working properly. 

The annual health check may also be a good opportunity to review any transitional arrangements that takes place when the patient turns 18.

The GP or practice nurse will also provide the patient with any relevant health information, such as advice on healthy eating, exercise, contraception or stop smoking support.

Tailored to the patient's needs

People with learning disabilities have lots of different needs. Sometimes these are written down in a health profile or health action plan that the GP or nurse can refer to. Putting "reasonable adjustments" in place can help people to have a successful health check. Reasonable adjustments mean changing services so they are easier to use.

These adjustments can include:

  • using pictures, large print, and straightforward language to help explain what is happening
  • booking longer appointments
  • scheduling an appointment that starts at the beginning or end of the day, so people don't have to wait

The NHS health check scheme

The NHS Health Check programme is for all adults aged 40 to 74. It assesses their risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia every five years. For more information, visit the NHS Health Check.