Improving access to social care for adults with autism

About this guide

This guide is primarily for frontline, managerial and commissioning staff in the social care sector. Most sections are relevant for all of these groups, while some are targeted at either people working on the front line or more senior staff.

This is made clear in the section titles. The guide is built upon Access to social care for adults with autistic spectrum conditions, a practice enquiry conducted with people with autism and their families by the University of Sussex, on behalf of SCIE. It is informed too by SCIE Research Briefing 32: Access to social care and support for adults with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC), as well as drawing upon other work and opinion identified by SCIE staff as relevant. It makes extensive reference to Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives, the government's autism strategy, and its supporting documents.

The guide was drawn up with the help of an Advisory Group, which included people on the autistic spectrum, their carers, representatives of ADASS, Autism London, and the National Autistic Society, and academics.

NICE accreditation

NICE accreditedNICE has accredited the process used by SCIE to produce guidelines. Accreditation is valid for 5 years from July 2011 and is applicable to guidance produced using the processes described in the SCIE Guide Production Toolkit.

For full details on our accreditation visit: NICE Accreditation.

For readers from Northern Ireland

Please note that the policy context of Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives in this practice guide is specific to England. The guide, however, contains guidance on good practice in social care and social work with autism that is relevant for readers from Northern Ireland.

Policy variations/exceptions in the guide

Please note that the following policies/guidance do not apply to Northern Ireland. The arrangements or equivalents for Northern Ireland, where applicable, are listed.

Fair Access to Care Services - please refer to the DHSSPS'Circular HSS (ECCU) 2/2008: Regional access criteria for domiciliary care'. Wider guidance covering assessment and reviews is contained in the DHSSPS'Circular HSC (ECCU) 1/2010: Care management, provision of care and charging guidance'.

Joint Strategic Needs Assessments - the nearest equivalent in Northern Ireland would be the local strategic plan of each of the five Health & Social Care Trusts.

Mental Capacity Act - currently there is no mental capacity legislation in Northern Ireland; however, the forthcoming mental health legislation, due to be implemented during 2011–2012, will cover mental capacity.

Mental Health and Learning Disability Standard Contracts do not apply to Northern Ireland.

Putting People First - in Northern Ireland, refer to: 'People first community care in Northern Ireland in the 1990s'

Resource Allocation Systems - in Northern Ireland, personal budgets are not used, however direct payments (which are a form of personal budgets) are provided to service users. Similar to Resource Allocation Systems, the criteria for direct payments used in Northern Ireland are: Carers and Direct Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 2002;'Direct payments legislation and guidance for Boards and Trusts' (DHSSPS, 2004); and the DHSSPS 'Circular HSC (ECCU) 3/2009: Guidance on accounting and monitoring requirements for payments made under the Carers and Direct Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 2002'.

Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability - for Northern Ireland, please refer to guidance on special educational needs provided by the Department of Education, further information from Department of Employment and Learningand/orDepartment of Education, Department for Employment and Learning and Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (2006) 'Report of the Transitions Inter-Departmental Working Group', Belfast: Department of Education, Department for Employment and Learning and Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Think local, act personal has no current equivalent in Northern Ireland.

Department for Work and Pensions - the functions of this department are covered in Northern Ireland by the Department for Social Development.