Scotland Cross Party Group on Autism publishes report – ‘The Accountability Gap’
Published on 11 October 2020
Today the Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament have published ‘The Accountability Gap’ a review of the Scottish Government’s 10 year Autism Strategy.
National Autistic Society Scotland provides the secretariat support for the group and carried out the review over the last year hearing first-hand the difficulties faced by autistic people and their families in Scotland. It found widespread recognition that the Government’s strategy set out a welcome vision and was well-intentioned.
However, the majority of people who participated said there had been limited impact for many people in a number of areas including autism diagnosis and post-diagnostic support, as well as support in education, care and employment.
In particular it found that:
72% of respondents said they did not have enough support to meet their needs
78% of respondents said that it was not easy accessing support locally
50% felt that autism awareness among the general public had not improved
69% said that with more support they would feel less isolated
It also highlighted how a lack of accountability at local level, is leaving autistic people and families fighting, often with little success, to get the support they need.
The review makes 10 recommendations that aim to help improve the lives of autistic people that the Scottish Government and COSLA should consider when the Strategy comes to the end of its lifespan in 2021. These include:
Solving the issue of the accountability gap by establishing a new Commissioner role, whose remit includes ensuing that autistic people and families get the support they need.
Developing a new fully funded Scottish Strategy for Autism that is co-created between autistic people, families, charities, COSLA and the Government, is appropriately funded and delivers real sustainable change.