Friday, 25 May 2012

Adult Autism Strategy - Council reports on progress

North Yorkshire's report on progress implementing "Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives" is here. One word summary: minimal.

Regular readers must know we're shocked, shocked!

The Adult Autism Act was published in 2009. Statutory guidance was published in December 2010. Although neither of these documents set out timescales for implementation, we are starting to wonder what the definition of a reasonable timeframe is and whether the strategy will ever be implemented in it's entirety. (We are still waiting for the Council to implement the ASD Good Practice Guidance from 2002.)

Quick analysis from the report:

There is still no clear pathway for diagnosis:"progress in this area is very limited...."

Health services should appoint a lead professional to develop diagnostic and assessment service: "No lead professional"

There is no plan to develop autism-sepcific health services. That would be "potentially in conflict to the more generic approach adopted by Operations restructuring"

North Yorkshire has yet to complete work on identifying the number of people with autism. It cannot identify unmet needs, plan and finance appropriate services until it has done so: "some mapping has been done...this work needs to be completed."

Transition planning for post 16+ has yet to be put in place;"A draft "Good Practice Transition Pathway" was drafted in Summer 2011 and put to CYPS and HAS". Trans: Council wrote a report.

It has yet to appoint a joint commissioner / senior manager with clear commissioning responsibility for adults with autism: "change manager nominally identified". This post will be temporary only.

It has yet to develop a commissioning plan for adults with autism. Could this be related to the lack of a commissioner?

The Council and Health and Adult Services have yet to consider adjustments necessary to services delivered to adults with autism: "HAS needs to consider this guidance"

And on it goes....

Has either the Council or health services made any progress at all?

The report states that schools and mental health services are informing parents of their right to community care and carer assessments as children leave education.

It says that a "local joint meeting set up to improve sharing of information and this continues to develop". Just one? Has it actually happened yet, or is it the diary?

"E-learning is being delivered to all social care staff." (Takes about an hour or so to complete. What about all other Council and health service staff?)

How can North Yorkshire be held to account? Well, perhaps the answer is contained within the guidance itself:

As set out at the start of this document, because the guidance is required by law, it is known as “statutory” guidance….This means that local authorities and NHS bodies must follow the relevant sections or provide a good reason why they are not (one example might be because they can prove they are providing an equivalent or better alternative). If they do not follow the guidance and cannot provide a good reason, they may be liable to judicial review. Lack of sufficient resource would not necessarily constitute a good reason

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