Photo of MP in Welsh Assembly meetingThe Welsh Government has published an updated Delivery Plan which reflects their new priorities for improving autism services in Wales. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething AM, also outlined further detail on the Welsh Government’s proposal for a code of practice on the delivery of autism service.

These developments come at the same time as the National Assembly for Wales’ Health, Social Care and Sport committee is looking into a separate Autism Bill, which our charity has been supporting through our Your Act campaign.
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Making a statement in the National Assembly for Wales, the Cabinet Secretary said that the revised Delivery Plan includes:

  • updating guidance for housing providers;
  • developing GP autism registers to improve data collection; and
  • a commitment to improve the involvement of autistic people in policy development and through a new awareness campaign.

The Cabinet Secretary also stated that a proposed code of practice on the delivery of autism services, to be published for consultation in November, will set out how local authorities, health boards and their partners should have services available to meet the needs of autistic people and their families and carers.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “The code will have a significant influence on where and how local authorities and health boards prioritise resources and how they actually deliver autism services. We need to get the balance right between requiring certain outcomes while at the same time enabling continuing innovation.”

Plaid Cymru’s health spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth welcomed several elements of the Welsh Government proposals but suggested they ‘fall short’ of what could be provided through an Autism Bill. UKIP’s group leader Gareth Bennett asked how long it will take for things to improve under the current Welsh Government plans.

Paul Davies AM, who has developed the Autism Bill currently being examined by the Health, Social Care and Sport committee, asked the Cabinet Secretary to reconsider the Welsh Government’s opposition to an Autism Bill and work with him to create the strongest possible Autism Bill that the National Assembly can develop.

Paul Davies said:
“The Cabinet Secretary is aware of my view that a code does not go far enough in tackling some of the long-standing issues around service delivery, and it certainly doesn't offer absolute permanence to the delivery of services, because a code can be revoked at any time.”

Meleri Thomas, External Affairs Manager at the National Autistic Society Cymru, said:
"We welcome the updated Delivery Plan and the new commitments within it, including a new consultation on a code of practice. We look forward to seeing the detail of those proposals in due course. In the meantime, we will continue to support the development of the Autism Bill as it goes through the scrutiny process to ensure that legislation can be as strong and effective as possible, for the benefit of autistic people and their families and carers in Wales."