Houses of parliament

Impact of Autism Act on health and social care training


The introduction of the Autism Act 2009 is likely to herald a new era for adults with autism. The act places significant statutory guidance on local authorities to raise awareness and understanding of autism via dedicated training programmes.

A key outcome of the act, is the requirement it placed upon the government to produce an adult autism strategy by 1st April 2010. The strategy document was duly published on 3rd March 2010 and provides a clear message that local authorities and NHS bodies must improve:

  1. Training for staff.
  2. Identification and diagnosis of autism.
  3. Planning of services for people with autism.
  4. Local leadership.

What does strategy say about autism training?

The strategy makes some fairly explicit statement’s regarding the provision of autism training for all frontline staff. More specifically, the guidance categorically states that local authorities and the NHS:

  1. Must provide autism awareness training for all frontline staff.
  2. Must provide specialist autism training for key staff, such as GPs and community care assessors.
  3. Cannot refuse a community care assessment for adults with autism based solely on IQ.
  4. Must appoint an autism lead in their area.
  5. Have to develop a clear pathway to diagnosis and assessment for adults with autism.
  6. Need to commission services based on adequate population data.


As is plainly obvious, the Autism Act is likely to have some very far reaching implications for the delivery of local health and social care provision. It is generally acknowledged that frontline staff working across both health and social care have limited understanding of autism and therefore the strategy specifically recommends:

‘We recommend that autism awareness training should be included within general equality and diversity training programmes across all public services’. (2.8)

‘We believe it is therefore essential that autism awareness training is available to everyone working in health or social care’ … (2.16)

‘We will work with PCTs and local authorities to identify priority groups for training’. (2.20)

‘We recommend that autism awareness should be an essential part of the training given to staff carrying out community care assessments’. (2.24)

It will come as no surprise to many to realise that no additional funding is being made available to deliver the Autism Strategy, with local councils, the NHS and care providers being required to fund training and development initiatives via re-deployment of existing resources.

Here at Care Academy we have witnessed a significant increase in the number of clients wishing to utilise Care Academy to help deliver their Autism training. Our dedicated course; ‘Supporting People with Autistic Spectrum Conditions’ meets the Skills for Care Knowledge set and is suitable for staff who have either a direct or indirect role in supporting people with autism.

In summary, the course outline is as follows:

  1. Introduction to Autism.
  2. Laws and policies associated with supporting someone with Autistic Spectrum Condition.
  3. Supporting someone with an Autistic Spectrum Condition.
  4. Supporting the person with Autistic Spectrum Condition through good practice.

To find out more about ‘Supporting People with Autistic Spectrum Condition’ please view our course portfolio.

Further background information on the act can be found at