This year will mark ten years since the Autism Act received royal assent on 12 November 2009. It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to publish a strategy to meet the needs of autistic adults in England, and to review this periodically. In a recent parliamentary enquiry which I chaired with neighbouring local MP Huw Merriman, we found huge gaps nationally in the service provision for children with Autism and so we are pleased the Government is acting on the recommendations from out report to improve services.
We are asking for your support in promoting a national call for evidence on autism, which is being led jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. The call for evidence was launched on 14 March and invites views from autistic children and adults, families, carers and professionals on how we can improve services and support for autistic people. The call for evidence is part of the cross-government review of ‘Think Autism’, which will be refreshed and launched later this year. The strategy will be extended to cover children as well as adults, so services work better for autistic people of all ages.
The Government wants to know what is working and importantly where more needs to be done to improve the lives of autistic people, including what the key priorities should be for the future. The call for evidence is open for responses until 16 May 2019. It can be accessed online at the link below: https://consultations.dh.gov.uk/autism/2e4ae18d
We know that not everyone will be comfortable with providing views via an online survey. Therefore, there are also word versions of the surveys, which can be completed and sent via post. The surveys can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-national-autismstrategy-think-autism-call-for-evidence
The surveys are one part of the Government’s work to gather evidence and alongside this we are working with a range of organisations and networks to gather views, including face to-face meetings with autistic people.
Please do send in your feedback as this is a huge opportunity to improve services for those with Autism.
With all good wishes
Maria Caulfield MP
Member of Parliament Lewes