Restrictive Physical Interventions

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Directors of Social Services Chief Executives of Health Authorities Chief Executives of Primary Care Groups

GUIDANCE ON RESTRICTIVE PHYSICAL INTERVENTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITY AND AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER, IN HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL CARE SETTINGS I am pleased to announce the publication of the above guidance issued under section 7 of the LASSL Act 1970. This document is issued jointly by Department of Health and Department for Education and Skills. This is the first time that such guidance has been issued. It focuses on the need for provider agencies to have effective policies, procedures and training for staff who work with people who may have behavioural episodes where restrictive physical intervention is necessary for their safety and the safety of others. The guidance promotes the concept of including potential strategies and actions in care plans, to help staff and people who use services deal effectively with such episodes. There is a strong emphasis on training and in using training organisations who have the expertise and experience to provide for this sector. The British Institute of Learning Disability are in the process of accrediting training organisations who offer training in restrictive physical interventions for those working with people with learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder. A limited number of printed copies are available from: Department of Health Publications PO Box 777 London SE1 6XH Fax: 01623 724524 Email:

The guidance is also available on the DH Learning Disability Website at: There is also an accessible version of the guidance which is available from: British Institute of Learning Disabilities Tel – 01752 202301 / 01562 723010 Major extracts are also on the BILD website:

David Ellis Social Services Inspectorate Department of Health Disability Policy Branch

Guidance for Restrictive Physical Interventions
How to provide safe services for people with Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorder

July 2002

Valuing People:
A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century


“We welcome this guidance, which has been carefully developed over the past 2 years with considerable help from the health, social care and education sectors. For the first time, guidance covers all areas of service that children and adults with learning disabilities and difficulties will use throughout their lives. It is vitally important for all staff to have effective training and support in the use of restrictive physical interventions. People with learning disabilities have a right to be treated with respect, care and dignity especially when they are behaving in ways which maybe harmful to themselves or others and as a result require physical intervention from staff. By using this guidance staff will be helped to act appropriately and in a safe manner, so ensuring effective responses in difficult situations. We would like to thank all those who have been involved in the production of this material, particularly Professor John Harris and his colleagues at the British Institute of Learning Disability. We are indebted to them for a great deal of hard work since the mid 90’s. We would also like to thank all those who responded so positively to the consultation process, including staff, service users and their families. We hope that you will find this a useful document, which will bring benefits to the day to day lives of people with learning disabilities, their families and all staff who work with them.”

Jacqui Smith

Cathy Ashton



This is the first time joint Guidance by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills has been proposed on this topic. It is identified as an integral part of both “Valuing People White Paper: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century” and the National Minimum Standards...
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