Health minister John Hutton has unveiled plans to develop a national learning disability strategy, following a critical report on existing services.
The study of 24 local authorities and their partner health authorities by the Social Services Inspectorate, NHS Executive and Social Care Group found 'little progress' had been made in transforming services to improve quality of life.
Although more individualised and flexible services had been pioneered, improvements were on a small scale.
Most day services were still provided in large centres and more than 90 per cent of people using them were unemployed.
Mr Hutton said the Facing the Facts study showed that 'while there are areas of good practice' there was a need to 'drive up standards across the country'.
Rob Greig, a former NHS manager and director of the Community Care Development Centre, has been asked to lead development of the strategy, which should be published by the end of next year.
Facing the Facts - Services for People with Learning Disabilities: a policy impact study of social care and health services.