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Have your say on the Autism Act statutory guidance!
What do you think local councils and local health bodies should be made to do to improve the services and support available for adults with autism in your area?
This paper contains tips and ideas for responding to the Autism Act statutory guidance.
What is the Autism Act Statutory Guidance?
The Government is developing guidance for local councils and local health bodies (NHS services) on the development of services and support for adults with autism in England.
The guidance will be statutory, which means that if local councils and local health bodies do not do what it says, they could be taken to court.
The Government has written a draft of this guidance and wants to know what you think about it before they publish a final version in December.
It is really important that as many people as possible have their say, as this is a key opportunity to transform support for adults with autism at a local level.
The guidance covers 7 areas:
1. Diagnosis of autism in adults
2. Identification of adults with autism (this is about staff in health and social care services recognising autism, referring people on for diagnosis and supporting people appropriately)
3. Assessing the needs of adults with autism for services and support (this about getting an assessment of your needs from a local council to see if you are eligible for extra help)
4. Transition to adult services
5. Local planning of services and support for adults with autism by local councils and local health bodies
6. Training of staff in autism
7. Local leadership in councils on the development of support and help available for adults with autism
The Government’s draft of the guidance and a questionnaire about it for you to fill in can be found at here. The address to send your response to is on page 30 of the draft statutory guidance or you can email your response to firstname.lastname@example.org
You have until Friday 22nd October to tell the Government what you think.
Some key things to remember when you are commenting on the draft guidance
> When you read the draft guidance, the key bit to read is the “What this means for health and social care” bit of each chapter. This says what new things local councils and local health bodies will have to do, once the final guidance is published.
> As the guidance will have legal force, the words used in it are very important, so look at them carefully. For example, if the guidance says that a local authority should do something rather than should consider doing something, this means that they have to do it, rather than having to make a judgement about whether action is needed.
> Use examples from your own life to help show why the guidance should say certain things. For example, if you think that additional requirements need to be put into the guidance on training, give examples of when a lack of understanding of autism has been a problem for you.
> Use examples of good practice too! If you know of a local council, local health body or individuals who have set up a good service or provided good support for adults with autism, this is very useful to show how it can be done.
> You do not have to answer all of the questions. Also, if you want, you can send in some general comments about the guidance without answering any of the questions.
What we think
The National Autistic Society will also be writing to the Government to let them know what we think of the guidance. Below are some of the key things that we will be saying. You might find these useful when you are writing your own response.
1) Get the wording right! The guidance will have legal force and so the words used in it are very important. We would like the guidance to be much clearer about where local councils and local health bodies have to take action. Currently, some bits of the guidance require local councils and local health bodies to decide whether they should ta