Agenda item

Autism Partnership Board - Update

A report providing an update on the new National Autism Strategy, the workplan for the Autism Partnership Board and the progress in the development of the Reading Autism Strategy .


The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Services submitted a report updating the Committee on work being undertaken by the Autism Partnership Board with community partners to improve the lives of children and adults with autism in Reading. 

The Assistant Director for Operations, Sunny Mehmi explained that the national Autism Strategy had first been written in 2009 and updated 2010 and 2014.  The latest Autism Strategy was published in July 2021: ‘The national strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021-2016’.  The Reading Autism Partnership Board was launched in January 2019 to develop and implement the local Autism strategy and actions in response to the national Autism Strategy. The aim of the partnership was for statutory and voluntary partners, users, and carers to help develop a strategy for Reading.  However, due to the Covid pandemic the work had been delayed.  Since September 2021 the board had met monthly to fast track the work of the Strategy.  The terms of reference and membership had been revised and a clear timeframe to develop the strategy had been established. The aim was for the draft Strategy to be submitted for consultation by June 2022 and following feedback and amendments the final draft and action plan would be presented to the Committee in September 2022.

The Autism Partnership Board had agreed that two task and finish groups would undertake projects on behave of the Board.  One would collect national and local datasets to identify an evidence-based needs assessment and help inform the priorities.  The other would develop an Engagement Strategy to bring together views of children, adults, and their families to help shape and inform the new Strategy. Work was also being undertaken with charities to make sure that Autistic service users were represented on the Partnership Board. There was a clear timeframe to deliver the new Strategy and action plan over six months to a year.

It was suggested that once work with the task and finish groups had been completed that the Committee considered the terms of reference and findings from partner agencies and services users.  It was noted that engagement work and the Strategy would cover all users and support would be provided to include and engage the input of different types of people with different types of autism.

The Strategy would be co-produced with the health community and the Partnership Board.  It was noted that parents at the Avenue School were being consulted on the new Strategy.  Work had been undertaken to develop the Strategy since January 2022 and it was confirmed that the draft would be available in June 2022. Work would also be undertaken to consider unmet needs of people yet to be diagnosed, those already diagnosed, and supporting families, to direct where resources could be reconfigured or diverted.

The Committee thanked Sunny for the report.

Resolved –

(1)     That the National Autism Strategy be noted;

(2)     That the workplan for the Autism Partnership Board and progress in the development of the Reading Autism Strategy be noted.

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