On Wednesday 27 February 2012 in a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, a high profile committee of MPs that is responsible for monitoring Government spending, MPs urged the Government to implement commitments made in the 2010 autism strategy to improve services for adults with autism.
Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Committee, said that Government progress to date has been poor and MPs stressed that whilst some steps have been taken to implement the strategy, the Government has failed to meet a number of commitments that they made in 2010.
Failure to meet commitments to improve data collection on adults with autism has meant that many local authorities are still unable to assess the number of people in their area who need support and as a result local authorities are unable to plan appropriate and cost effective services. Unmet commitments to improve training for health professionals mean that many people are at risk of not having their needs assessed correctly and receiving the care they need.
The NAS therefore welcomes Department of Health reassurances to the Committee that by 2014 steps will be taken to improve data collection and that they will meet unfulfilled promises to improve autism training for health professionals.
The NAS also welcomes commitments from the Department of Health to ask adults with autism and their families to 'validate' what local authorities say they are doing to improve services.
We will be campaigning to ensure the Government honours these commitments in its review of the strategy later this year. This is a crucial opportunity to drive real progress in improving services and support for adults with autism.