The team behind Radical Visions have written several key publications describing how to improve health and social care services and offering practical advice and guidance.

Radical Visions works in partnership with Citizen Network to publish ideas, good practice and research. Our most recent publications are listed here. You can also explore the full library of Citizen Network to find out more.

A New Way Home (Scottish Edition)

This new guide is published in the context of the Scottish Government commissioned Coming Home report of 2018 detailing the circumstances of hundreds of men and women unduly detained in hospital or accommodated far from their families and communities. The report, written by Dr Anne MacDonald, found that 705 adults with learning disabilities and complex needs had been affected by “delayed discharge” from hospital and/or were living in “out-of-area placements”. Of this total:

  • 45% had already been living “out of area” for more than 10 years
  • 23% for more than 5 years
  • 79 individuals (11.2%) were living in hospitals in England and Wales.

The guide, written by Frances Brown and John Dalrymple, highlights the importance of clear accountability in ensuring the urgent resolution of this human tragedy. The restrictions arising from the current pandemic must not be used as an excuse to divert attention from the urgency of the matter or to delay further the ongoing “essential work” of ensuring people’s freedom. With this month’s report from the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory highlighting the disproportionate disadvantages arising for people with learning disabilities from the pandemic, there is no place for indifference, or simply waiting for more auspicious days to arrive. This is essential work that needs to be progressed now, and it is to be hoped that this week’s announcement by the Cabinet Secretary of a proposed change fund for social care will help with this acceleration.

The content of the guide also confirms one of the recommendations of Derek Feeley's recently published Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland which urges the prioritisation of “approaches that enable people to stay in their own homes and communities, to maintain and develop rich social connections and to exercise as much autonomy as possible in decisions about their lives”. Continued institutionalisation has no justification on grounds of cost or risk management, let alone recognised best practice.

The guide looks in depth at public perceptions of people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours, transition plans, the need to consider housing specification, and the use of Self-Directed Support with specific reference to individual service funds. These person-led, solution-focused approaches are at the heart of the guide.

The guide points to the “vicious circle at the heart of the institution” for people with learning disabilities. Institutional living can bring with It “a real and present threat to life”, as well as a significant loss of power and control, stigmatisation and blame, physical and sexual abuse, and exclusion from society – as exemplified by scandals such as Winterbourne View and the death of Connor Sparrowhawk.

This new guide is available to read online and to buy here.

Individual Service Funds: a guide to making self-directed support work for everyone

Getting support from a support organisation for people with complex needs has too often been on a take it or leave it basis. In the past the person was forced to fit themselves into the organisation's way of doing things. But things are beginning to change and growing numbers of support organisations are learning how to support the person to live their life in their own way.

Today there are many organisations who are trying to provide personalised support. One of the most useful tools for these organisations is an Individual Service Fund (ISF). This means treating any available funding as a personal budget and working with the person to ensure that it is used to help them full live a life of active citizenship.

Written by Frances Brown and Sam Smith, who have between them over 40 years of experience in using Individual Service Funds (ISFs) to provide personalised support, this new guide provides:

  1. Clear principles explaining what an Individual Service Fund is and how to use it
  2. Real life stories and examples that explain the benefits of using an Individual Service Fund
  3. Guidance to organisations and funders on how to establish systems for Individual Service Funds

The guide helps explain how Option 2 which is part of the Scottish legislation for Self-Directed Support, can work in practice. However this guide will also be useful to those in other countries who are working to ensure that self-directed support is available to everyone, and that is not restricted only to those people whose disabilities who take total responsibility for self-management. Individual Service Funds make the benefits of self-directed support available to everyone, even people with the most complex needs.

The guide is available to read online and to buy here.

Quality of Home Life for Adults with Learning Disabilities

John Dalrymple published this paper in the Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 23 (1). The purpose of this paper was to provide a commentary on an article describing changing patterns in the provision and take-up of accommodation services for adults with learning disabilities in Ireland, in the context of the types of reductions in funding that have been apparent internationally for some time.

The commentary examined some of the implications and discusses some of the underlying quality of life issues implicit in the data presented. It also explored the tensions between owning one’s home and receiving specialist support and examines what supported living might enable services to achieve.

The paper concluded that the nature of economic policy and professional practice, alike, have implications for the quality of home life enjoyed by adults with learning disabilities; and that the interplay between them is more complex than is often allowed.

The paper is available to read via Emerald Insight here.

A New Way Home (English Edition)

Frances Brown and John Dalrymple provide practical guidance on a personalised approach to leaving institutions.

The guide is for people, families and for those professionals who seek to work in genuine partnership with them. All the ideas and examples are based on real people and the collaborative work of helping people overcome the barriers that people face as they try to build the lives they deserve. Read and download the free publication here.

Self-Directed Support: Your Choice, Your Right

In principle self-directed support provides an ideal way to modernise social care to make it consistent with human rights. In practice the challenges of implementation mean that there is still a long way to go.

Self-Directed Support: Your Choice, Your Right written by John Dalrymple, Donald Macaskill and Henry Simmons sets the scene for the next stage of developments in Scotland and offers a framework for meaningful change. The authors call on leaders across Scotland to ensure that the opportunity for real and positive reform is not lost amidst other policy imperatives. Read and download the free publication here.


This new publication from In Control Scotland, written by John Dalrymple and Keith Etherington, argues that resource allocation systems are a vital part of any genuine system of self-directed support; and that resource allocation systems that provide upfront information about the size of the budget likely to be available, remain uniquely empowering of individuals and families wishing to maximise personal control and creativity throughout the process.

Read and download the free publication here.

Let’s scrap the DWP

John Dalrymple and Simon Duffy make the case for Basic Income Security in Scotland - a system to integrate and reform the current tax and benefit systems.

Read and download the free publication here.

Personalisation and Human Rights

In this paper the authors, Kavita Chetty, John Dalrymple and Henry Simmons argue that the broad policy concepts and detailed practice of personalisation are rooted in, and informed by, human rights: both with regard to the general approach human rights imply and the underpinning legal framework they provide.

Read and download the free publication here.