Issue - meetings

Joint Coventry and Warwickshire All Age Autism Strategy 2021-26

Meeting: 08/12/2021 - Joint Children & Young People and Adult Social Care & Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 5)

5 Joint Coventry and Warwickshire All Age Autism Strategy 2021-26 pdf icon PDF 493 KB

The Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee is asked to consider and endorse the joint All Age Autism Strategy for Coventry and Warwickshire 2021-26.

Additional documents:


The joint overview and scrutiny committee received a copy of the report considered and approved at Cabinet on 7 December. The report was introduced by Ali Cole, Joint Commissioner for Learning and Autism. She outlined the various bodies which had considered and approved or were due to consider this strategy.


She reminded of the helpful feedback received from this joint committee in October 2020, which had assisted in formulating the strategy, also speaking about the new national Autism strategy, which this strategy aligned with. She picked up the points from earlier debate around a focus on support and the strategy made a commitment that people could access support with or without a diagnosis. There had been a clear message from autistic people and their families that diagnosis was important to helping people understand themselves and their identity. Many autistic people lived independently without support. Further points raised that this was an all-age strategy, touching on the issues for adults with Autism, about how society could become more Autism friendly and inclusive. This strategy took a broad approach to creating inclusive communities, beyond health education and social services; the national strategy did likewise. There was no additional recurrent funding, but reference was made to the business case raised under the CWPT item.


Questions and comments were submitted with responses provided as indicated:


  • Councillor Beetham spoke about working with employers and the need for reasonable adjustments to be made for autistic people. He asked how this was achieved if there wasn’t a diagnosis.  He referred to a section of the report on prevalence of Autism. The data for the Warwick and Nuneaton areas were similar despite Nuneaton having a much larger population and he sought an explanation of the reasons for this. The report stated there would be reduced demand if access to support was available. Ali Cole responded that a diagnosis would make employers aware that they might need to make adjustments. Feedback from autistic people consulted as part of the strategy showed that a diagnosis did not make enough of a difference. Autism was a spectrum condition with individual needs. The need for a public awareness raising campaign was stated, drawing comparison to that undertaken for dementia. A particular area referenced was the County Council and NHS organisations setting a good example as employers. On the point about prevalence, this was a topic both nationally and locally with the rates being higher than the 1.1% identified via a commissioning tool. There were a number of contributors why an Autism diagnosis was not captured reliably. Capturing data and building an evidence base were a priority within the strategy. A key priority was looking at the diagnostic pathway having regard to recent referral data.
  • Councillor Humphreys spoke of the mislabelling of undiagnosed children as naughty. This could lead to a social stigma and additional problems, both for the child and their family. A recent case was used to highlight this. Ali Cole agreed that this demonstrated the need for awareness raising and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5