Enabling local partners to develop relevant services for adults with autism to meet identified needs and priorities

Section 6 of the 2010 Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives strategy states that government is increasingly moving towards a model of area-based funding and service delivery and that this in itself will help agencies and services come together to share resources to support adults with autism.

To build on this, the strategy focuses on:

  • putting the needs of adults with autism on the map in every area
  • identifying and promoting service models that are proven to make a positive difference for adults with autism, and
  • enabling adults with autism and their families to have greater choice and control over where and how they live. 

Why is local planning important for people with autism? 

While central government can set the framework for improving the lives of adults with autism – removing barriers, working to increase awareness – much of the responsibility for delivery of this strategy sits locally. It is here that partners can come together to develop relevant services – and extend existing ones – that enable adults with autism to be included in society, reflecting the needs and priorities of the local area.

What specific recommendations regarding local planning were made in the strategy? 

The following information has been copied from the 2010 strategy. We have included clause numbers from the strategy after each point. You can view the full strategy by clicking here. Section 6 on employment starts on page 59.

Local leadership

Local authorities should follow the [Department of Health] ... guidance which states that the Director of Adult Social Services (DASS) should ensure there is a joint commissioner/senior manager who has in his/her portfolio a clear commissioning responsibility for adults with autism. (6.10)

To support the work of this local commissioner/manager, local partners may also want to consider establishing a local autism partnership board that brings together different organisations, services and stakeholders locally and sets a clear direction for improved services. The first-year delivery plan includes examples of possible structures for such boards, drawing on best practice that already exists around the country. (6.12)

[The Department of Health] will work with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), strategic health authorities, local government offices, deputy regional directors and other key partners to support the development of a regional delivery plan for adults with autism in each government region. (6.14)

Understanding local needs

[The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)] core data set is currently being reviewed and estimates of numbers of adults with autism will be included when the revisions are published in spring 2010. (6.8)

[The Department of Health] will lead the development of an agreed protocol for what information should be recorded and how it should be shared with other services. This protocol will also look at how information about numbers of adults with autism locally should be compiled and fed into centrally collated data about rates of autism. (6.18) (Note: The protocol should be published by the end of 2010.)

It is essential that the views of adults with autism and their carers are sought and taken into account in the development and delivery of services locally ... (6.15)

Planning to meet local needs

We expect each local area to develop its own commissioning plan around services for adults with autism that reflects the output of the JSNA and all other relevant data around prevalence. (6.9)

[T]he needs of adults with autism should be taken into account in local housing planning, design and allocation, in line with local priorities ... (6.26)

Identifying and promoting service models that are proven to make a positive difference for adults with autism

To enable local partners to develop relevant services in every area, DH will continue to identify best practice and promote effective service models. (6.23)

In line with the Government’s response to the consultation on implementing the Independent Living Strategy, [the Office for Disability Issues (ODI)] ... is looking at ways to build the capacity of disabled people’s organisations, including those that support adults with autism. (6.25)