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Adult Autism Strategy (Statutory Guidance)

Volume 515: debated on Tuesday 7 September 2010

A national public consultation on statutory guidance for health and social care bodies to support the delivery of “Rewarding and fulfilling lives: The strategy for adults with autism in England (2010)”, under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 was launched on 29 July 2010. A copy has been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members in the Vote Office.

The landmark Autism Act 2009 (introduced as a Private Members Bill by the now Secretary of State for Wales) marks a milestone in the drive to transform support and services for adults with autism in England. This Government have already made clear the commitment to drive forward work to tackle the disadvantage which people with autism and their families sadly so often face and to deliver the autism strategy published earlier this year by the previous Government.

This consultation on draft guidance for health and social services bodies to support the implementation of the autism strategy is a marker of that commitment. The draft guidance focuses on the seven areas highlighted in the Autism Act 2009 and is focused on achieving two key outcomes:

improving the way health and social care services identify the needs of adults with autism; and

ensuring identified needs are met more effectively to improve the health and well-being of adults with autism and their families.

Throughout, the draft guidance underlines the importance of using existing processes and resources to achieve these outcomes.

The aims of the consultation are to:

hear the views of service commissioners and providers, people with autism and family carers and use those views to inform the development of the statutory guidance;

further understand the expectations of adults with autism and their family carers in relation to health and social care services;

seek views on the issues around the provision of health and social care services for adults with autism; and

gather more information about health and care services currently provided for adults with autism and family carers.

The consultation will run to 18 October 2010, and we will publish final guidance, informed by the responses we receive, in December.

This consultation on statutory guidance for health and social care bodies is part of an ongoing programme of activity to ensure adults with autism will be able to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as the rest of society. This Government are committed to supporting people with autism to live independently as equal and included citizens. This means ensuring that programmes across the voluntary and public sectors that are aimed at improving care and transforming services address the needs of people with autism; and that mainstream public services especially become more inclusive of people with autism.