Autism-Europe International Congress in Scotland in 2016

The 11th Autism-Europe International Congress will take place September 16-18, 2016 in Edinburgh. Organised by the National Autistic Society, Autism-Europe’s international congresses are dedicated to sharing advances in practical and scientific knowledge about autism. The target audience includes researchers, professionals, parents and self-advocates.

The theme of the 2016 Congress is “Happy, Healthy and Empowered.” The Congress will focus on the most recent developments across the field of autism.

A call for papers has been issued, and abstracts for presentation at the Congress are sought. The Congress wishes to explore a broad range of perspectives, both theoretical and practical, and will be accepting abstracts within the three key themes of Happy, Healthy, and Empowered. Submissions from researchers, practitioners, teachers, autistic individuals and other interested parties are welcome. Annette Pyle, Care, Support and Rights Division of the Scottish Government, notes that “we would hope that stakeholders working on the [Scottish Strategy for Autism] will submit papers and we can share some Scottish autism practice.” For more information about the submission process and guidelines, please click here.

Registration for the event is also open. For more information or to register, please click here.

Outcomes framework aligns Strategy with national priorities

Annette Pyle, Scottish Government Care, Support and Rights Division, recently reframed the Scottish Strategy for Autism into four outcomes. These outcomes align with the four strategy goals. There is no change in the Strategy’s priorities; it simply reframes the Strategy to align it with current national Scottish Government priorities. It also provides a rationale on what work is taking place and why. It is an approach framework; a way to look at what has been accomplished so far and what the priorities are going forward.

To reflect this new approach, we have added each Working Group’s outcome in the key messages section of this newsletter. To view the full outcomes and priorities document, which contains much more detail, visit the Scottish Strategy for Autism website. The document is currently under revision after discussions at three of the working group meetings. Once updated, it will be posted on the Scottish Strategy for Autism website.

Key Messages

Governance Group

23 October - As the Scottish Strategy for Autism nears the end of its fourth year, the Strategy has been reframed into outcomes. This will align the Strategy with other national priorities. The Strategy’s Fourth Annual Conference will take place on December 8 at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Invitations will be sent out the last week of October.

The Autism Innovation and Development Fund applications are still under review due to the high number received. The Scottish Government expects to work with Inspiring Scotland, who will partner with funded projects to help them identify and share good practice.

The One Stop Shops across Scotland continue to work towards sustainable funding, and are partnering with Julie Haslett, Joint Improvement Team, to assure that funding is secured.

The group heard about key events taking place, including the September 25 National Autism Coordination Project’s third business meeting, which focused on transitions. Working Group 2 put together the programme for the day. They also heard about the Employment Event held on October 5, which was also saw the launch of a new employment web resource.

The group heard an update on the Autism Trainer Award and the progress of its pilot cohort, made up of representatives of 18 local authorities.


Working Group 1

Outcome 1 - A Healthy Life: People with autism enjoy the highest attainable standard of living, health and family life and have timely access to diagnostic assessment and integrated support services.

24 August - Working Group 1 reviewed the new group strategy priority and outcome, which will guide future work. With this in mind, the group reviewed the work plan and updated several items. The group plans to invite Julie Haslett, Scottish Government Joint Improvement Team, to the next meeting. She will be asked to give a report on her work on improving the sustainability of the One Stop Shops. The group has also requested a report on the progress of Tommy Mackay’s report on microsegmentation. The group would also like to hear more about self-directed support and will consider what specific questions they have before inviting someone to present at a future meeting.


Working Group 2

Outcome 4 - Active Citizenship: People with autism are able to participate in all aspects of community and society by successfully transitioning from school into meaningful educational or employment opportunities.

1 July – Working Group 2’s draft work plan was submitted to the Governance Group at their June meeting and was well-received. Group 2 has now identified first steps to improve young adult transitions and how to action them as part of their work plan. These address the themes identified during their ‘Digging Deeper’ road show events.  They are: Eligibility and Unmet Need, Options and Choices, Resources and Logistics, Processes, Accountability, Information and Training.

The group has drafted an agenda for the next Autism Strategy Lead Officers’ Collaborative event, to take place in late September in Glasgow. This will focus on transitions. The group will work closely with the National Autism Coordination Project team on finalising the programme and preparing for the event.

2 September - Following information gathering and consultation, including the ‘Digging Deeper’ events, Working Group 2 has agreed initial actions to support improved transitions for young people with autism.  The group will be working with the Scottish Government to establish an improved picture of the numbers of young people with autism who receive post-school support. The group will be working with the National Autism Coordination Project to organise a transitions event for lead officers. The group is seeking examples of peer support networks for parents and carers. The group is also seeking opportunities to work with the Scottish Government and Governance group to review how policy and legislation that impacts on transitions can be joined up and clarified.


Working Group 3

Outcome 2 - Choice and Control: People with autism are treated with dignity and respect and services are able to identify their needs and are responsive to meet those needs.

24 June - Working Group 3 heard an update from a member of the Scottish Autism Research Group. SARG has recently been revitalized, holding an event in February 2015 and planning another for February 2016. They are also involved with Autistica-funded projects to build cohorts of children and adults with autism and their families for participation in autism research.

The Group remains keen to see the outcomes from the Autism Development Fund projects; however, the evaluation of these projects is reliant on final reports and evaluations being completed by the project organisations and for these to be analysed to identify good practice. Timing is tight for this to be completed before the Scottish Strategy for Autism 4th Annual Conference, tentatively scheduled for November 2015. The group has offered to support the evaluation by creating a framework, and awaits word from the Scottish Government (SG) on whether they should undertake this work.

[Post meeting note (AP): Following SG discussions, an evaluation framework will not be developed but funded projects which have had good outcomes will be highlighted and showcased at the annual conference.]

The Group will be creating an online knowledge network, in the form of a forum hosted on the Autism Network Scotland website. It will be called the “Sharing Practice Network” and development work is continuing. The Group intends to formally launch the network at the November Conference.

The Action on Autism Research Series Report is due to be completed at the end of summer and presented at the next Governance Group meeting.

Note: Group 3 Chair Jane Neil-MacLachlan stepped down in August, and we are very appreciative of her leadership and service.


Working Group 4

Outcome 3 - Independence: People with autism are able to live independently in the community with equal access to all aspects of society. Services have the capacity and awareness to ensure that people are met with recognition and understanding.

31 August - The group heard an update from Janine Robinson, NHS Education for Scotland, who reported that an updated web resource for primary care physicians has been completed and will be online soon. The group will be taking a look at training levels in diagnostic facilities across Scotland, as well as at data from a recent ADOS project. The group is also keen to know more about autism in teacher training, and will be gathering data from a number of sources related to this. The group has been asked to gather information on autism alert cards available in their areas and forward this information to Tracy Wenzl for collation.

Innovation & Development Funding 2015/16 - Information for Applicants

Due to the high volume of applications received for the innovation and development funding available for 2015/16, applications are still being processed.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications in due course.

Please do not contact the policy team - you will be notified as soon as decisions have been made.

Thank you for your patience.

Shaping Health & Social Care for Scotland’s Future




A consultation has been launched on the draft human rights and wellbeing principles that underpin the development of new National Care Standards for health and social care services in Scotland.

The National Care Standards help everyone understand what they have a right to expect when they access health and social care services. They also help services understand and meet the quality and standards of care which they should provide.

The Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland are asking everyone with an interest and involvement in health or social care, personal and professional, to take part in the consultation which will help the standards evolve to meet the needs, rights and choices of people across Scotland.

Paul Edie, Chair of the Care Inspectorate said: “Everyone in Scotland has a right to high quality services which provide high quality, safe and compassionate care.

“We will all access a health or social care service at some point in our lives and it’s important that the new National Care Standards better reflect the needs and rights of people in Scotland.

“That’s why we’re consulting the experts, and that includes both the people who use services and their loved ones, and those who provide and work in health and social care, to ensure that the new National Care Standards will be as effective and accessible as they can be, with human rights and wellbeing sitting at their core.”

The first stage of the review of the current National Care Standards is to consult people who have an interest on seven overarching draft principles.

These draft principles will apply across all health and social care services, including hospitals, independent healthcare, NHS surgeries, social work provision, criminal justice, social care and early learning and childcare.

The consultation response will then inform the development of generic and specialist standards which will apply to services across health and social care.

The consultation can be accessed here:

Paul Edie, Chair of the Care Inspectorate added: “Until 10 December 2015, we will consult on the draft principles, which are that everyone has the right to be respected, to compassion, to be included, to be treated fairly, to responsive services, to be safe and a right to personal wellbeing.

“After the consultation has finished and people’s views considered, the draft principles will be finalised and rolled out from April 2016.

“We will then draft the new generic and specific standards and further consult on them. We anticipate that the new National Care Standards will be rolled out from 2017 and will be inspected against by scrutiny bodies after that. This is a tremendous opportunity to shape health and social care services across Scotland for the future and I hope as many people as possible will get involved.”

Denise Coia, Chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “The public's views matter.

“We're hoping that people will help us to develop the future of health and social care in Scotland by providing their views on the principles that will guide the development of the National Care Standards.

“It's important that these services are developed with the involvement of the people who will use these services, as well as other interested parties.

“We all want to see services which provide high quality, safe and compassionate care for all, and we look forward to engaging with the public to shape and achieve this."

The consultation will aim to engage and consult with as many people as possible, with both users of services and with health and social care professionals. The initiative includes a major social media campaign, a new short film and a programme of speaking events, including conferences and workshops in collaboration with a broad range of public bodies.

Further Information

National Care Standards were established by the Scottish Government in 2002 to help people to understand what to expect from care standards and services to understand the standards they should deliver.

The Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland have been tasked with leading a development group that will produce these new standards, closely working alongside people using services, carers, providers and other agencies. The first thing the development group did was to develop a set of draft overarching principles which are now to being consulted on.

To take part in the consultation, please visit

Draft SIGN guideline available for consultation

Scottish Strategy for Autism -  Recommendation 19

SIGN is updating its guideline on the assessment, diagnosis and management of autism. The guideline will now cover children, young people and adults. The draft guideline is now available for consultation at

Consultation of each SIGN guideline in draft form is open to all.  They welcome input from health care professionals, patients, health service managers, and other interested groups.

The guideline is scheduled for publication in March/April 2016.