May 16, 2018

Accessible Summary: The Big Bedtime Audit

Evening routines in the community

By Elaine James, Mark Harvey and Rob Mitchell

Accessible summary by Rebecca Fish

An NHS England report called Building the right support was published in 2015. The report set targets to cut down the amount of people in units by about half before 2019.

The report asked for better services for people with learning disabilities in the community. This was so people could move out of units.

The Government want people with learning disabilities to have better choices about where to live. They want people to feel included in their local area. They want less people living in hospitals and units.



The Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) says that disabled people have the right to live in the community. They have the right to choose where they live.

Social workers should protect people’s rights to be included in their community.





Before the 1980s many people with learning disabilities had to live in hospitals or institutions.

They lived very limited lives in hospitals. Staff told them what to do, like when to eat meals and when to go to bed.



Now that people live in the community, they should be able to choose when to go to bed.

The Stay up Late Campaign was started by self advocates in 2012. They think that people with learning disabilities should be able to choose how to spend their evenings.

Their website is

What is the Big Bedtime Audit?

We sent two social work teams to find out what was happening at 8 o’clock in the evening in the homes of people with learning disabilities.

The homes were all in the community. We visited supported tenancies, supported living houses, residential care homes and nursing homes.

The homes were in two different local authorities. They visited people in one area on a Thursday evening and people in another area on a Friday evening. Altogether they visited 263 people. They visited again after six months.




This is what people were doing at 8 o’clock in the evening:

  • Most people were getting ready for bed or in bed.
  • Only a small amount of people had gone out for the evening.
  • Less than a quarter were at home and not ready for bed.
  • Some people were already asleep in bed.
  • People in residential and nursing homes were more likely to be in bed.
  • Nearly half of staff said that the person was in bed because it was their choice.
  • People in supported tenancies were less likely to be ready for bed.

This pie chart shows the amounts of people doing different things

What do we think about this?

We think that early bedtimes are like hospital habits. People should be able to choose their bedtime.

When social workers plan support for people with learning disabilities, they should make sure they can make choices.




All pictures used are from CHANGE

The article is called An Inquiry by Social Workers into Evening Routines in Community Living Settings for Adults with Learning Disabilities

By Elaine JamesMark Harvey & Rob Mitchell

You can look at the article here: