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Adults with learning disabilities known to local authorities in Scotland: a national dataset

Claire Stuart (Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability, Glasgow, UK)
Andrew McKeown (Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability, Glasgow, UK)
Angela Henderson (Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability, Glasgow, UK)
Chloe Trew (Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability, Glasgow, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 5 January 2015




Learning Disability Statistics Scotland collects information on adults with learning disabilities who are known to local authorities in Scotland and the services they use. The data collection supports national and local government policy making and is focused on monitoring the implementation of learning disability policy. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Individual level data are requested from all 32 local authorities on adults aged 16-17 who are not in full-time education and those aged 18 and over. Annual data guidance is developed in conjunction with local authorities prior to the collection and is issued to standardise the process and manage avoidable error. The collated data are extracted from local authority administrative data and records are provided on each adult regardless of whether they are currently receiving a service. Anonymisation takes place prior to upload and strict guidelines are followed to ensure it is not possible to identify individuals.


The paper provides insights to the project's processes, uses, challenges and future plans. It details the position of the data outputs within a policy context and the role these might play within a broader research agenda.

Research limitations/implications

This data includes only adults known to local authority services.


The value of the project lies in its strength as a national social care data set comprised of individual level data. This methodology increases the analytical potential of the data set. This paper will be of interest to those interested in data on learning disability and those with an interest in the analytical potential of an individual level national data set.



Stuart, C., McKeown, A., Henderson, A. and Trew, C. (2015), "Adults with learning disabilities known to local authorities in Scotland: a national dataset", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 15-23.



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