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An Action Research Project in the European Union Community Action Programme to combat Discrimination


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3rd. Int. Conference of Steps
Lidingö, 15th - 18th of May 2003

"Organisation Developement"

Aim of the Conference

At the 3rd. International Conference in Lidingö we would like to work out clear and practical recommendations concerning the organisational structure of services in learning disabilities. Frame of reference for recommendations are the UN-Standard rules on equalisation of opportunities for people with disabilities and the EU-Charter of Civil Rights.

To continue the discussions at the Rotterdam Conference we will focus on four crucial topics in organising services on a community level to collect the knowledge and diversity represented in the expert network of STEPS and to formulate recommendations.

The four topics should cover four levels of organisation:

How to achieve this aim?

The Conference will be subdivided in four plenary sessions. Each a member of the STEPS-network will be asked to take the chair of one session. The chair would be responsible to focus and concentrate the presentations and discussion on central recommendations concerning the session's topic.

Each session will be opened by three presentations coming from different countries. Each presentation should take maximum 20 minutes and should be handed out in advance in an English version.

The four sessions will be introduced by Lars Lööw, Disability Ombudsman of Sweden, with his presentation "Services for learning disabilities according to the human rights - tasks, problems and Steps forward."

Conference Programme

Plenary Sessions

Session I: Macro-level of Service Structures: Mainstreaming, synergism or specialisation?

Learning disability services comprise regular health services, rehabilitation, daily care and support in housing, assistance to work, therapy etc. The services in the five STEPS-countries are organised in very different ways.

This session focuses on the macro-level of service structures. Recommendations concerning appropriate ways of organising services to meet peoples needs should be formulated:

These are only some questions to show the significance of the topic of "Macro-level of Service Structures - mainstreaming, synergism or specialising?".

Users with severe learning disabilities and users with severe health or psychiatric indications should be taken in consideration as well as users with mild disabilities.

Session II: Structures of service providing organisations - foundations, cluster-trusts, holdings or whatever?

In STEPS, there are different kinds of organisations represented: from huge trusts, traditional "stichtings" (foundations) to community based services.

This session should focus on appropriate organisational structures in service providing organisations. In the face of economic pressure, European developments and rationalisation the providers tend to build big trusts and holdings.

Session III: Community Support, Community Living, Living Community

Services based on the Human Rights demand regional, local structures and a tolerant and integrative community and neighbourhood. Thus community development and community involvement are required from service providing organisations and local authorities/administrations as well as from community networks.

This session should recommend useful methods and structural elements. It should focus on attitudes and structures to open the service providers to the community, involved in neighbourhood building and encouraging inclusion.

This session should recommend service structures capable of supporting community in a double sense of community living.

Session IV: How to meet the needs of the people with learning disabilities?

This session should focus on person centred user support to get adequate services according to the person's needs and wishes and to control the service providing organisations. The user should be empowered to claim personal integrity and dignity and to fight for his or her rights.

We want to get a recommendation towards a clear understanding of person centred user support in a strict sense.


STEPS - Structures towards Emancipation, Participation and Solidarity
Ev. Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit & Diakonie Rauhes Haus - Horner Weg 170 - 22111 Hamburg