Issue - meetings

Herefordshire and Worcestershire All Age Autism Strategy 2024-2029

Meeting: 28/03/2024 - Cabinet (Item 106)

106 Herefordshire and Worcestershire All Age Autism Strategy 2024-2029 pdf icon PDF 254 KB

The purpose of this report is to approve the Herefordshire & Worcestershire All-Age Autism Strategy (2024-29).


Additional documents:


The cabinet member for adults, health and wellbeing provided an overview of the background legislation, explaining that the autism Act of 2009 was the only disability-specific legislation in England. It provided statutory guidance supporting the NHS and local authorities in implementing a local strategy to improve: staff training, identification and diagnosis and transition planning when people moved from children to adult services, employment and criminal justice.


The cabinet member highlighted that in September 2022, work had started on an all-age strategy, in line with the National Autism Strategy, for the Integrated Care System (ICS) in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Initial co-production of work across the two counties had involved: autistic people, carers and professionals, workshops and online surveys (with over 400 responses received).


A breakdown of the strategy priorities (as set out in para 7 of the main report) was provided and it was explained that progress would be monitored at the ICS Developing Services for Autistic People Board with oversight from the ICS Learning Disability and Autism Programme Assurance Board, with annual reports being presented to the Health and Well-being Boards in both counties.


The strategy aimed to deliver positive outcomes and improve lives in a number of different areas across local communities. The strategy would provide the platform to elevate the profile of autism and would aim to facilitate significant and meaningful change by enabling the best start in life for children and good mental well-being throughout life.


Cabinet members praised the manner in which personalised knowledge and a focus on lived experience underpinned and enriched the strategy.


Group leaders welcomed and supported the strategy and praised the emphasis that it placed on: the voice of the individual, lived experience and references to academic studies / sources. The accessible and readable format of the report was also welcomed.


A number of suggestions were put forward by group leaders, including numbering rather than bullet pointing high level aims and key actions. A request that the strategy be followed up with an implementation plan was also made.


In response to the suggestions the cabinet member stated that bullet points would be replaced with numbering, if that was the preference. It was also explained that a detailed delivery/implementation plan was already in the pipeline.


The cabinet member for adults, health and wellbeing answered a final question from the cabinet members about how the strategy might help people experiencing issues between diagnosis and accessing services. It was explained that autism assessments were carried out by NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust and that actions to reduce waiting times were contained in the aims of the strategy.


It was unanimously resolved that:



(1)  Approves the Herefordshire and Worcestershire All Age Autism strategy, and

(2)  Delegated authority be given to the Corporate Director for Community Wellbeing and the Corporate Director for Children and Young People to take all operational decisions that fall within the responsibility of Herefordshire Council to complete, as set out within this strategy.