Barbara Coles

Photo Barbara Coles


BSc Hons (Open)


PhD Student

Contact details



I started my PhD studies in January 2009. I’m researching the experiences of family carers who are managing individual funding and self-directed support services for people who have severe learning disabilities and high support needs.

Research interests

  • Family carers role within the context of the ‘personalisation agenda’ (specifically relating to managing individual budgets and self directed support services)
  • Learning Disability Workforce Stimulation and Development (stimulating the workforce to bring about more creative ways of supporting people and tailoring training to suite the needs of the person being supported and the individual circumstances of the learner
  • Family carers as researchers (why might family carers want to do their own research and what the advantages and challenges are of ‘inclusive research methods’ as a model for conducting family research


My company ‘Families Leading Planning UK’ (FLP UK) specialises in providing consultancy and development training, focusing on person-centred thinking and practice.  FLPUK supports family carers to take the lead in planning and implementation and supports them to share their knowledge and experience with other family members via family mentorship and training opportunities.

FLP UK works with local authorities and third sector organisations to ensue that they understand the importance of commissioning training specifically targeted at family carers in order to achieve better outcomes for people with learning disabilities.

Recent publication

Chapter in book:

Coles, B & Short, A, (2008) Families Leading Person Centred Planning, Chapter 11: pp 231-255 in Thompson, J: Kilbane, J; Sanderson, H Person Centred Practices for Professionals, Open University Press