A law aiming to promote and protect the rights of autistic people in Wales, proposed by Paul Davies AM, is one step closer after it was selected through a ballot to be debated in the National Assembly for Wales.
This marks a welcome boost for our charity’s Act Now campaign, which calls for an Autism Act for Wales. Paul Davies, AM for Preseli Pembrokeshire had entered an Autism Bill into the Ballot, along with Mark Isherwood AM, Russel George AM, Angela Burns AM and Andrew RT Davies AM.
Members’ Bill Ballots happen regularly during the assembly term. While most laws in Wales are introduced by Welsh Government Ministers, this ballot gives individual members from all parties the opportunity to suggest new laws and to seek support for their idea from other Assembly Members.
The selection of the Autism Bill means that there is now a formal process in place for it to be considered by the Assembly. Previous debates and votes about proposals for an autism law in the Assembly haven’t been binding. Debates and votes on this Bill will be part of the process that Bills need to go through to become law. We will be looking at how supporters and members can get involved in encouraging their Assembly Members to support the Bill so that it can progress to the next stage.
If passed, the new law would seek to:
- Ensure a clear pathway to diagnosis of autism in local areas;
- Ensure that local authorities and health boards understand and take necessary action so that children and adults with autism get the timely support they need;
- Ensure local areas plan services accordingly, using appropriate data, and
- Review and monitor local and national strategies to ensure progress.
Mark Lever, Chief Executive, The National Autistic Society said: "We’re delighted that Paul Davies AM and his proposal for a new law on autism has been chosen in the National Assembly’s regular private Members’ Bill Ballot.
Our charity, supporters and members have long been campaigning for an autism act for Wales to give clarity to autistic people in Wales, their families and carers on the care and support they can expect to receive.
"In a recent survey that we carried out some 90 per cent of respondents were in favour of specific autism legislation. The Welsh Government’s autism strategy has helped secure greater awareness and support for autism in Wales. Introducing an autism act now would ensure that further progress can be made in the longer term.
"We look forward to working with Assembly Members from all parties in the National Assembly for Wales to ensure that this new law benefits the 34,000 autistic people in Wales."