An independent, non-statutory review of services to help Bristol become a more welcoming place for autistic people and people with learning disabilities is published today (14 June).
Commissioned by Bristol City Council, in consultation with the Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership, and produced by Sir Stephen Bubb, the Building Rights report makes three key recommendations to help services and systems become more aware and have a better understanding of the challenges faced by autistic people and people with learning disabilities.
The recommendations are:
- Establish a ‘Charter of Rights’
- Ensure a ‘Right to Challenge’
- Establish an independent commissioner for autistic people and people with learning disabilities
Councillor Helen Holland, Cabinet Lead for Adult Social Care, Bristol City Council said: “We welcome the recommendations of the Building Rights report and fully accept all the findings.
“Bristol City Council commissioned this report in 2019, because it was important to us to establish how aware local agencies across Bristol are about autism and people with learning disabilities, and to understand how we can progress our ambition to create a city that is welcoming for all. The recommendations in this report will help us to work towards this aim.
“I thank all the families who contributed to this report, which I know could not have been easy. Please do know that by sharing your sad and often painful experiences in this report, they will help to inform positive and meaningful change to how services and systems interact with autistic people and those with learning disabilities, many of whom we know, will struggle daily.
“We know there is much work to be done and recognise Sir Stephen’s independent review as providing an ethical impetus for our visionary work, and thank him for providing a clear pathway for much needed, system-wide improvements based on people’s real, lived experiences.”
The delivery of work to respond to the recommendations of this report will be via the Healthier Together Learning Disabilities and Autism Programme, which is a Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) partnership endeavour. It includes the three local authorities, as well as the BNSSG clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Avon and Wiltshire NHS Partnership Trust (AWP), Sirona Care and Health, and voluntary and community sector partners.
Since the report was commissioned, a new Autism Diagnosis Hub was implemented last year. Co-produced with parents and carers and other key stakeholders the Hub provides a co-ordinated approach in which professionals work together, reducing the need for multiple appointments, providing the option of co-located therapists, as well as information, advice and peer support for families at the start of their journey.
Hugh Evans, Executive Director (People Directorate) Bristol City Council said: “We remain positively committed to improving the experience of autistic people, and people with learning disabilities in Bristol.
“We will keep listening to what citizens want, what autistic people, their families and those with learning disabilities tell us they want, and explore what the possibilities are as part of our ongoing work with Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG), CCG and other partners across the local area.”
For more information about autism services in Bristol see the Bristol City Council website.