Learning disabilities commissioners are failing to provide the leadership required to meet the needs of local populations, regulators have found.

A review by the Healthcare Commission, Mental Health Act Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection calls for improvements to the way learning disability services are planned and personalised.

The review, Commissioning Services and Support for People with Learning Disabilities and Complex Needs, is based on studies in nine local authority areas. It found there was “not yet sufficient leadership to claim a substantial, systematic, properly resourced drive to commission services that really met the needs of local populations”.

It states progress has been made but change is “too slow” and “uneven”. Too many workers lack ambition for what people with learning disabilities can achieve, it says.

The regulators recommend improvements to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults, including staff training and better joint working between councils, primary care trusts and providers.

Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker said: “Services for people with a learning disability have been too low on the priority list for far too long.

“It is good news that improvements are being made, but it is not happening fast enough.”