In my WCMT Fellowship report I introduced the concept of performative scrutiny. It seems we’ve reached a point now where there are more investigations happening than ever before, but very little change as a result of them. I can’t help think that this is due to a need to be seen to be responding, rather than getting to grips with what is really required:
It feels to my mind that we’ve embraced the concept of performative scrutiny. What I mean by this that we’re performing, we are undertaking actions to enable people to feel like something is happening, so there is a lot of activity, without actually applying any meaningful scrutiny to the lives and deaths of learning disabled people.
I am at a loss to understand what hundreds of reviews summarising information but not actually interrogating available evidence or making findings of fact are adding. If anything, all of this activity feels like a distraction.
We know why people are dying prematurely, we know the causes of their deaths, we know about differences in life expectancy. We know about apathy, discrimination and bias. If we accept that we have a wealth of knowledge, then why are we conducting reviews or investigations? What is their purpose and how do we evaluate whether they are successful?
The bereaved families who I met with were united in their wish that meaningful investigations took place and changes made to improve the health, and prevent the premature death, of learning disabled people.
A number of blog posts touching on, or relating to performative scrutiny, are linked below.