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Adult Autism Strategy

Volume 526: debated on Friday 1 April 2011

I am announcing the Government’s publication tomorrow of “Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives: Evaluating Progress”—a set of key outcomes and service ambitions to secure implementation of the adult autism strategy. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

“Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives: Evaluating Progress” has been produced to deliver against a commitment made in the first-year delivery plan to produce a self-assessment template for localities to check progress on implementing the goals set out in the adult autism strategy.

The document details a set of seven key outcomes and three service ambitions which provide a consistent and tangible way to assess progress in each area. Over time, they will evolve into a jointly owned set of outcomes that all parties—local partners, adults with autism, central Government and others—can use to understand progress, and become a focal point for developing improved services.

The document reflects the Government’s ambitions for local autonomy, where precise top-down targets are replaced by desired outcomes, where implementation and investment is determined by local priorities—as agreed by local communities through activities such as the joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA)—and where central Government’s role is about facilitation rather than direction.

This means a new approach to evaluating progress on the autism strategy, with a focus on identifying the outcomes which will enable local and national assessment of whether the lives of adults with autism are improving. The Government will take the lead in supporting local partners to deliver change

In developing “Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives: Evaluating Progress”, we have worked closely with partners such as the Care Quality Commission, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the NHS Confederation and voluntary and independent groups, to select the most relevant outcomes.

The document also includes a generic template for estimating local area need for use when commissioning services for people with autism. This will help provide a source of future information locally on progress. The learning disability public health observatory will collate data using the template by publishing information from each locality.

The development and launch of the autism strategy led to a range of activities at local and national level to improve services for adults with autism. To help continue that momentum the self-assessment template will enable local areas to assess their own progress towards the goals set in the strategy, and towards implementing the statutory guidance.

The Department has also funded a series of online training resources and booklets to increase awareness and understanding of autism across all public services. Working with the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Social Care Institute for Excellence, the British Psychological Society, the Royal College of General Practitioners, Healthtalkonline, Skills for Health, and Skills for Care, we have produced a range of quality materials to enable front-line staff to recognise better, and thus respond more effectively to, the needs of adults with autism.