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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 11th February 2013.

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

Autistic Spectrum Disorder: Community Monitoring and Support Project

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide Members with an update on the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Community Monitoring and Support Project and to outline future actions to be undertaken as part of the project.

Recommendations

1.             That the work being undertaken by the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Community Monitoring and Support Project is noted by Scrutiny Committee.

2.             That Scrutiny Committee receives regular updates on the work of the project.

Reason for the Recommendations

1. & 2. To keep Members appraised of the work of the ASD Community

            Monitoring and Support Project and its achievements to date.

 

Background

2.             In 2009, an Adult Task and Finish Group established by the Welsh Government issued a report describing how service provision for adults with ASD was very inconsistent across Wales.  As a consequence, local authorities were given the opportunity to bid for grant funding.  In partnership with Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan Council applied for funding to establish a Community Monitoring and Support project across part of the South East Wales Region.  This was agreed by Welsh Government in April 2011, indicatively until March 2014.

3.             The funding has been allocated specifically for providing a service to adults with high functioning autism and Asperger's syndrome who are at risk of social isolation or vulnerable to mental ill health and who, currently, are not able to access or not eligible to access statutory services.  It enabled the Council to employ two ASD Community Project Workers with responsibility for establishing and delivering the service across the Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil.

4.             The service offers short-term, targeted intervention which promotes the independence and autonomy of adults with high functioning autism and Asperger's syndrome by:

  • providing them with a clear point of contact for information and advice;
  • ensuring that those who are eligible for statutory support are re-directed to existing services.
  • signposting those who do not meet the eligibility criteria for statutory social services to appropriate services located in their communities;
  • reducing the risk of crisis and helping to prevent enduring mental health problems by encouraging socialisation and directing individuals to social groups, local events and activities; and
  • profiling any unmet need and highlighting any gaps in provision which can then be relayed to local steering groups and to the Welsh Government for consideration.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             Access to the service is via telephone, on-line engagements, face-to-face meetings or by referral from partner agencies.  To date, 78 separate enquiries have been received.  Some are simple requests for information while others result in multiple contacts over extended periods, depending on need.

Enquiries to 31st October 2012

Adult Representative

1

Housing

3

Advocacy

4

Information

14

Assessment

1

Interpersonal Relationships

3

Befriending

2

Offending Behaviour

1

Benefits

2

Post Education Report

2

Carer Support

3

Social Activities

1

Counselling

2

Social Groups

1

Daily Living Skills

1

Social Skills

12

Diagnosis

7

Support

18

Employment

16

Support Groups

4

Finance

2

Volunteering

6

Forum

26

Friendships

1

Further Education

7

 

 

 

 

Total Enquiries

140

 

 

No. of people making enquiries

59

 

6.             The key performance indicator for the service is that individuals feel less isolated and receive support to help them live independent lives.  A number of case examples are outlined in Appendix A. Our quality and impact monitoring has indicated that service users have felt supported. Some clients have contacted us only once, have spoken for a few minutes, expressed their gratitude for the existence of the service and signed off saying they will contact us if they need anything and never do.

7.             The service has been successful in reaching out to clients through new media.

a)         The Adult Autism Advice web page received 1,194 page views in 2012, of which 619 were unique page views.

b)         Our Facebook page has had 92 likes.

c)         The generic Adult Autism Advice email address has received 50 different contacts.

 

8.             A number of areas of good practice developed by the scheme locally have been adopted by other areas of Wales.  This includes our client data base which streamlines the information gathering process.  Additionally, an adult with Asperger's syndrome has been recruited as part of the team which has given us increased insight into the needs of adults who are on the spectrum.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.             Two ASD Community Support Project Workers deliver the service across the four local authority areas. The posts are for 22.5 hours a week.

10.        The indicative grant allocation for this project for 2013-14 is £40,000.  Confirmation will be subject to:

  • formal approval by the Welsh Government of its indicative budgets;
  • compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant offer; and
  • satisfactory performance in the current financial year.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

11.        There are no sustainability or climate change implications as a direct result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

12.        There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

13.        As individuals with high functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome may have social communication difficulties, some of those who come into contact with the police can be at risk of being misunderstood.  The service helps to raise public awareness about how these individuals are best supported and also to signpost them to existing means of support such as the Emergency Services Card or Autism Alert Card to help overcome these barriers.

14.        For the same reason, individuals with high functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome can be at increased risk of falling victim to deception or manipulation due.  By establishing a local source of advice and information, this risk can be reduced.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.        The service has been established in order to ensure that adults with high functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome are afforded the same opportunities in carrying out their daily life as adults who do not have such disorders.  Marketing materials for the service are available in Welsh.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.        To make the Vale a safe, healthy and enjoyable place in which individuals, children and families can live their lives to the full.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.        The report is in accordance with the Council's policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.        No local ward member consultation has been undertaken as this is a Vale Wide Initiative.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.        Social Care and Health.

Background Papers

Strategic Action Plan for Wales (2008)

Adult Task and Finish Group Report (2009)

Adult Autism Advice marketing materials English and Welsh

 

Contact Officer

Joy Garfitt, Operational Manager, Learning Disability.

Keith Ingram, Autism Project Lead Officer.

 

Officers Consulted

Lance Carver, Head of Adult Services.

 

Responsible Officer:

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services.

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