Report of Chair of Joint Autism Review Group
The Chair of the Joint Autism Review group submitted a report (previously circulated) presenting the outcomes and findings of the joint review group; and requested that this Scrutiny Committee consider the most appropriate way to progress the key themes identified by the joint review group.
In presenting the report, the Chair of the Joint Autism Review Group made reference to the work undertaken to date to make Darlington an autism friendly town.
It was reported that the Health and Housing Scrutiny Committee approved a draft terms of reference in January 2020 to examine the autism provision with Darlington Borough Council; and agreed that a joint review group be established with the Adults and Children and Young People Scrutiny Committees.
Members noted that although an initial meeting of the review group was held on 2 March 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic the review group did not meet again until 24 February 2021, where an in-depth discussion regarding the 2018 Autism Self-Assessment Framework was held.
It was reported that the review group identified a number of key themes requiring further investigation and concluded that a Cross Party Autism Working Group be established to progress the key themes of training and awareness, support, diagnosis and employment; and in considering the recommendation of the review group, Members of this Scrutiny Committee were asked to consider whether the establishment of a Cross Party Autism Working Group was the appropriate way forward to progress the key themes.
Members welcomed the recommendation of the review group and gave consideration to the governance arrangements including membership, frequency and reporting arrangements of a Cross Party Autism Working Group; and reference was made to the possibility of extending membership to external partners and service users.
RESOLVED – (a) That Cabinet be advised that this Scrutiny Committee supports the recommendation of the Joint Autism Review Group to establish a Cross Party Autism Working Group to progress the key themes identified by the Review Group and be requested to support this recommendation.
b) That Cabinet be requested to consider this Scrutiny Committee’s proposed governance arrangements for the Cross Party Autism Working Group:
(i) that the Cross Party Autism Working Group meets bi-monthly;
(ii) that all interested Members be invited to join the Working Group; and
(iii) that the Cross Party Autism Working Group reports to Health and Housing Scrutiny Committee.