Improving access to social care for adults with autism
Our approach to evaluating progress towards [Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives] is based on tangible quality outcomes - visible and measurable indications of whether the vision is being realised. (10)
The government has released a document, 'Fulfilling and rewarding lives: The strategy for adults with autism: Evaluating progress'(10), in which it sets out the outcome measures* against which local areas can test how well they are meeting the aims of the autism strategy.
There are seven quality outcomes. Adults with autism will:
- achieve better health outcomes
- be included and economically active
- live in accommodation that meets their needs
- benefit from the personalisation agenda in health and social care, and access personal budgets
- no longer be inappropriately managed in the criminal justice system
- be satisfied with local services, as will their families and carers
- be involved in service planning.
To help local areas work towards these outcomes, the document also sets out three key ambitions:
- Local authorities and partners know how many adults with autism live in the area.
- A clear and trusted diagnostic pathway is available locally.
- Health and social care staff make reasonable adjustments to services to meet the needs of adults with autism.
Measuring progress against these outcomes and ambitions is not mandatory, but the intention of government is that local people with autism and their families work together with local organisations to test how far services have come, and how far they have yet to go, towards achieving them. The Department of Health supplies a self-assessment document to help local bodies record and measure their progress.
The government acknowledges that, in most areas, achieving these outcomes is a long-term goal. It therefore sets out 10 steps that local areas should take (again, they are not compulsory) to help them make progress (10):
- Appoint a local autism lead.
- Include autism in all key procedures.
- Collect and collate relevant data about adults with autism.
- Develop an integrated commissioning plan for adults with autism.
- Develop a training plan for Frontline staff.
- Map local employment services that support adults with autism.
- Map local voluntary groups that support adults with autism.
- Involve adults with autism, and their families and carers in service design and planning.
- Implement a staff survey about working with adults with autism.
- Learn from and share best practice.
* The performance measurements and outcomes in 'Fulfilling and rewarding lives: The strategy for adults with autism: Evaluating progress' do not apply to Northern Ireland. These are being developed by the Regional ASD Network as part of the strategic action plan for autism (15).
- Department of Health (2010) Fulfilling and rewarding lives: The strategy for adults with autism: Evaluating progress, London: Department of Health.
- Department of Health (2011) Fulfilling and rewarding lives: The strategy for adults with autism in England and statutory advice: Essential quality outcomes for local self-assessment framework, London: Department of Health.