Information from the NAS: New Autism Act statutory guidance issued
On 26th March 2015 the Government published new statutory guidance to implement the adult autism strategy (Think Autism), a key requirement of the Autism Act.
The NAS’ Push for Action campaign showed that 70% of adults with autism were not getting the care and support they needed from social services. Likewise, 70% of adults with autism told us that with more support they would be less isolated. Meanwhile, many local authorities told us that they needed more guidance on how to improve services.
Right across the country our members and supporters rallied around to call on the Government to make the adult autism strategy and statutory guidance meet the needs of adults with autism.
After we, and thousands of people around the country, campaigned, the Government reviewed the adult autism strategy, and published Think Autism. This committed to improving support for adults with autism and included a number of new areas, such as employment support and criminal justice. The next step was to tell local authorities and the NHS how to implement Think Autism.
That new guidance has now been published. It has increased in scope to include employment and criminal justice. It also updates what local authorities and NHS bodies should be doing in relation to some new laws like the Care Act and the Children and Families Act for adults with autism. Notably, it makes clear which professionals need what levels of training.
Councils and local NHS organisations have to follow this guidance unless they can show a good reason not to. If they are not following it, they can be legally challenged. They also have to report back regularly to central Government on their progress.
While a lot of local areas have been working to improve their services for adults with autism, progress remains patchy. The NAS is calling on local decision makers to help drive forward the statutory guidance in every single area. You can help, by sending an email to your autism lead to let them know about the guidance and ask them what they are planning to do. You can use our campaign for change form.
You can find out more about the Autism Act, Think Autism and this new guidance on the NAS website www.autism.org.uk/autismstrategy
The Avon Branch has representatives attending the Autism Partnership Board in BaNES, the Autism Planning Group in South Gloucestershire and the Bristol Autism Forum in Bristol. A member of the NAS staff attends the Autism Partnership Board in North Somerset. So, if you have any views you would like us to take to these groups, do please let me know.
All Autism Groups have had to complete a ‘Self Assessment’ document for the Department of Health. Based on the information in these, and the Guidance, Action Plans will be delivered in all our local groups. People with Autism, and their parents and carers, will be given the opportunity to comment on these Action Plans – whether by attending a meeting, or by email, or phone.