Mark LeverThe All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) is a formal cross-party backbench group of MPs and Peers who share an interest in autism.

The APPGA was set up in February 2000. Its role is to campaign in Parliament for greater awareness of autism, and to lobby the Government for improved services for autistic people and their parents and carers. Its secretariat is provided by The National Autistic Society.

Parliament requires All Party Groups to have an official objective. That is: "To raise awareness of issues affecting autistic people and Asperger syndrome, their families and carers; to raise Parliamentary awareness of autism; to campaign for changes to government policy to benefit autistic people and Asperger syndrome and improve diagnosis or, support for, autistic people and Asperger syndrome". This objective is reviewed every year.

What is an APPG?

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal, cross-party, interest groups of MPs and Peers interested in a particular issue.

APPGs do not have any power to make laws and are not funded by Parliament. There is a great number of APPGs, covering many and diverse fields such as health, education, transport, defence, finance, the media, and sports.

Some APPGs have existed for many decades whereas others come and go in response to issues of the day. The APPG on autism has been in existence since 2000. For more information, please visit the Parliament website.


Some of the most commonly answered questions sent to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism are answered below.

However, if your question isn’t listed here please email and we will do our best to reply in full.

Can I join the APPGA?

Only Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the House of Lords can be members of the APPGA. You can join the Distribution List and be invited to APPGA meetings by emailing

However, not all MPs can join an All Party Group. Parliamentary rules dictate that Government Ministers are unable to join All Party Groups.

Can I come to APPGA Meetings?

Yes. Public meetings of the APPGA in Parliament are open to all.

Can the APPGA introduce legislation or hold debates in Parliament?

No, all Party Groups are able to meet in Parliament but are not able to introduce their own legislation or hold their own official debates.

Can I meet with the APPGA?

As a member of the public you are free to approach individual Parliamentarians for a meeting, but the APPGA is its Members, and with over 200 of them currently it’s impossible to meet them all at once.

Can I join the APPGA Advisory Group?

As vacancies arise, the Advisory Group jointly approach a person who will maintain the skills, knowledge and insight balance of the group as a whole. The Advisory Group is not an elected group. Please email saying why you are interested but please note vacancies are few and far between. The group is voluntary and members are not paid.

Why is this all on The National Autistic Society website, are they members of the APPGA?

The National Autistic Society performs the role of secretary to the APPGA, but is not a member and has no voting rights. This means it performs functions of the APPGA, such as the website or keeping a list of members up-to-date. The decisions the APPGA makes are made by its Chair and Officers.

Does The National Autistic Society run the APPGA?

The National Autistic Society is the Secretary of the APPGA. All decisions are made by Chair and Officers which are elected at the AGM. The APPGA Advisory Group also contains a number of other organisations and individuals that are independent of The National Autistic Society.

How are the Chair and Officers of the APPGA decided?

Parliamentary rules dictate that All Party Groups must have an Annual General Meeting (AGM) every year. This AGM is open to all Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords and there are strict rules governing what you need to do at that AGM in order to make the All Party Group official. The AGM will then vote to elect the Chair and the Officers.

How does the APPGA decide which topics to hold meetings on?

There’s no one way the APPGA decides this. Sometimes meetings are in response to Government legislation or new consultations. Other times it’s because a Member has called a meeting on a specific topic. The APPGA Advisory Group also often runs consultations asking people what we should talk about.

Can I speak at an APPGA meeting?

Every meeting of the APPGA has someone with personal experience speaking whether it’s a parent, carer or autistic person. However, the APPGA is always looking for case studies, please email your story to and we will keep it on file.