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Autism

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 29 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent assessment he has made of the ability of local authorities to meet the needs of people with autism; (168509)

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that local authority commissioners (a) demonstrate their plans to provide services to people with autism and (b) provide adequate resources to implement those plans;

(3) what assessment he has made of the ability of the service plans of local authority commissioners to meet the needs of people with autism; and if he will make a statement.

We have not made any assessment of the ability of local authorities or the ability of the service plans of local authority commissioners to meet the needs of people with autism. It is for local authorities to manage their priorities and decide how resources should be attributed, taking into consideration locally identified needs and assessments of individuals.

As stated in the guidance on eligibility criteria for adult social care, councils have to commission services to meet the needs of people who meet the criteria under “Fair Access to Care Services—Guidance on eligibility criteria for adult social care”. A copy is available in the Library. If there are gaps in services, they should be filled. For 2007-08, the Government have provided £12.5 billion for local councils in respect of adult personal social services.

In addition, “Better services for people with an autistic spectrum disorder: A note clarifying current Government policy and describing good practice” was published on 16 November 2006. It clarifies the nature and intent of existing Government policy as it relates to adults with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). A copy is available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he issues to local authorities on support for adults with an autism spectrum disorder. (169622)

‘Better services for people with an autistic spectrum disorder: A note clarifying current Government policy and describing good practice’ was published on 16 November 2006. It clarifies the nature and intent of existing Government policy as it relates to adults with an autistic spectrum disorder. A copy is available in the Library.