Close Down the ATUs

The Centre for Welfare Reform made a submission in April 2019 to the Joint Committee on Human Rights calling for the closure of all ATUs.

Author: Simon Duffy

The Joint Committee on Human Rights recently called for submissions on the treatment of children within Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs), which is the name used in England for extreme institutions. The Centre's submission calls for the complete closure of these institutions and describes the practical, financial and policy problems that are causing institutionalisation, segregation and abuse.

The paper outlines:

  1. Historical background to the existence of ATUs
  2. Harms caused by ATUs and institutions
  3. Additional harm caused by Austerity
  4. System failures that lead to institutionalisation
  5. Need for family-based support and solutions
  6. Cultural and organisational change required in social care
  7. Perverse financial incentives that must be changed
  8. Limits of regulation that must be recognised
  9. How the process of closure should be phased
  10. Human rights protections for people with learning disabilities or autism

The submission is based on the collective experience of the Centre's Fellows, many of whom have worked, or continue to work, to end institutionalisation and to provide personalised support.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser, link below.

The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Close down the ATUs © Simon Duffy 2019.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.


Paper | 01.05.19

Deinstitutionalisation, intellectual disabilities, mental health, England, Paper

Frances Brown


Director of Radical Visions

John Dalrymple


Citizen Network Coop Supervisory Board Member

Sam Sly


Freelance Regulation, Health & Social Care Consultant

Simon Duffy


President of Citizen Network

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