User Engagement is a project funded by Essex County Council and delivered by Summit across Essex. This project provides a platform for people with learning disabilities and their families to ensure their voice and views are heard through participation, co-production and collaboration.


Members of Essex People’s Parliament are people with a learning disability who work voluntarily in the community gathering the views and concerns of their peers.

Their role is to:
Represent their local community – ensuring their human rights are upheld.
Attend local and county meetings to discuss issues and inform policy making.
Learn new skills which will increase their independence and improve their quality of life.

They attend regular Parliament meetings at Chelmsford and Local Action Groups to discuss what issues they would like to raise on behalf of people with a learning disability.


Summit work with people with a Profound and Multiple Learning Disability and capture their lived experience. This enables Adult Social Care to have an improved understanding of the services and provision that make a difference in the lives of this vulnerable group.


This specialist service supports people who are most vulnerable, or who find themselves at a particularly challenging point in their lives. Our professional advocates enable people without the right support around them to have their voice heard when; decisions are being taken about their health and social care or support is needed to make informed choices about their life.

The service is available to residents of Essex (excluding Southend, Thurrock and London Boroughs) who have no other appropriate support available to address a complex issue.
Essex Advocacy is a partnership of local and national providers and SUMMIT provide advocacy for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues. SUMMIT also provide the contract management for this service.

Our formal advocacy and non-statutory mental health advocacy is for vulnerable adults over the age of 18. Essex Advocacy services are free and independent from local authority social services and referrals can be made on line @


Local Action Groups (LAGs) were set up throughout Essex by the County Council over 10 years ago. They are independent of the Council and they are asked to identify gaps in services and to help with developing solutions to problems and improving access to services for people with a learning disability and their families.

LAGs try to bring together everybody who provides or uses services in their area. They make recommendations to the Council about improvements which are needed and are used by the Council as a sounding board for changes which are proposed.
The Council made the decision at the outset that people chosen as Chairs of LAGs should be entirely independent.

Summit provides administrative support to each of the Chairs. Meetings are open and public and so anybody interested in the way learning disability services are run is welcome to attend.