There are a number of organisations across England that have developed services and support.

Kirklees Council

In Kirklees, ‘prevention’ has been supported by the council on a long-term basis. The viability of this approach has been strengthened by evidence of social return, including a 2012 report from the New Economics Foundation, entitled Growing social capital: a social return on investment analysis of the impact of voluntary and community sector activities funded by grant aid, that evaluates the cost-effectiveness of establishing community groups.

The council supports some 220 community projects that are part of a more universal offer and are also available to people with a wide range of social care needs. Described as ‘community partnerships’, a network has been created that is in touch with some 9,000 people a week.

This long-term investment means that people who are not automatically eligible for local authority-funded care services have access to some community support.

Alongside a strong belief that investment in prevention is stopping issues escalating into more expensive support solutions, there is evidence that referral rates for social care are reducing over time in Kirklees.

Kirklees also use the ‘Outcomes Star’ to measure progress – a tool that commissioners are using more and more to assess the outcomes of the services they are commissioning and as a means of assessing if their money is being well spent.

For more information, contact Ian Smith, Partnership Commissioning Manager, at ian.smith@kirklees.gov.uk

Lewisham Council and Lewisham PCT 

In response to the autism strategy, in 2012, Lewisham Council and Lewisham Primary Care Trust commissioned Burgess Autistic Trust (BAT) to set up an information, advice and support service for adults with autism and their families.

Implementing the service involved:

  • forming relationships and links with other local organisations and statutory services, including IAPT services, social services, voluntary organisations and colleges
  • advertising the service
  • receiving referrals from service users requiring services (over 60 so far)
  • finding suitable premises
  • preparing peer support groups and workshops
  • conducting initial assessments of service users to identify their needs, and supporting them with difficulties they are experiencing on a 1:1 basis
  • developing a resource centre with literature on autism and related topics
  • developing employment support
  • identifying key issues and difficulties experienced by those living with autism - namely employment, housing, benefits and communication.

The service delivers support to adults with autism and their families in various ways, depending on the individual’s needs and preferences, including:

  • peer support interest groups
  • lunch groups
  • training workshops (understanding your diagnosis, social communication skills, travel training, healthy lifestyles)
  • employment support
  • 1:1 sessions
  • visual and communication support
  • parent support groups
  • partner support groups.

 

To be eligible for the service you must:

  • live in the Lewisham borough or be registered with a Lewisham GP
  • not be eligible for FACS (Fair Access to Care Services).

The Lewisham information, advice and support service for adults with autism works closely with the Lewisham ASD Assessment Clinic, also commissioned in Lewisham as a result of the Autism Act 2009. Patients diagnosed at the clinic are referred to BAT’s support service for post-diagnostic and continuing practical support.

For more information, contact Hannah Bowley, Lewisham ASD Outreach Manager, at hannahbowley@burgessautistictrust.org.uk

Nottinghamshire Asperger Syndrome Team

The Nottinghamshire Asperger Syndrome Team has been well documented as an example of good practice. We highlight this team to demonstrate an effective and working model of how such a team can be developed to support the local needs of adults with autism.

Nottinghamshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Nottinghamshire County Council recognised the needs of people with autism in their adult health and social care commissioning strategy.

Both Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Nottinghamshire adult social care departments have established specialist teams to support adults with autism. The health team includes a clinical psychologist, occupational therapist and speech and language therapist. It focuses on multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessment and post-diagnostic support.

The social care team, made up of five social care staff, provides specialist assessment, care management and short-term interventions. The team also provides social and emotional support and assistance with employment and accommodation. The team is able to offer community care assessments by assessors who have a good understanding of autism.

For more information, contact the team at enquiries@nottscc.gov.uk

Wokingham Borough Council

Wokingham Borough Council initiated an innovative development in managing and allocating complex health and social care cases/referrals.

Wokingham Borough Council has for some years operated a monthly Case Management Determination Panel (CMDP), chaired and attended by senior officers. The primary purpose of the CMDP is to make binding decisions about case responsibility for individuals deemed eligible under Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) but whose primary need may be unclear, or multiple, and where service structures (client groupings) don't provide an obvious solution.

The panel has been very successful and has made a significant impact on the management of those individuals who may otherwise have 'fall between the gaps'. The panel now also has other functions, primarily around high risk individuals where many agencies are involved, for instance young people in transition. Evidence has shown that a significant proportion of those individuals considered are on the autistic spectrum.

Read the CMDP's 'Terms of Reference' here.