This article describes a study that involved interviewing eight managers of residential services, who have made referrals to community learning disability teams (CLDTs) for challenging behaviour. Thematic analysis and a critical perspective are combined to analyse and interpret what referrers said about the process of the referral. The study found that managers referred people with intellectual disabilities to the CLDT primarily in order to manage organisational problems rather than to directly manage challenging behaviour. The referrals enlisted the services of professionals to legitimise the residential services, to confirm their practices and to provide credibility to existing decisions by managers. In referring a man or woman with intellectual disabilities to the CLDT, the managers submit themselves, their staff and the person with the intellectual disabilities to the power of the health and psy-complex professionals.
- intellectual disabilities
- community learning disability teams
- thematic analysis
- residential services