Bristol City Council and the Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership have commissioned a non-statutory review of services to help Bristol become a more autism-friendly city.
The aim of the review is to establish how autism aware local agencies across Bristol are, and will include national recommendations for making Bristol and other cities more user-friendly for people with a learning disability and/or autism.
It is estimated that around 700,000 are living with autism in the UK. People with the condition process the world around them in a different, more intense way to other people and can often feel overwhelmed in busy, public places which can lead to people with autism being misunderstood or isolated.
People with autism also may be finding adjusting to the current restrictions and government guidance on social-distancing and self-isolating particularly tricky.
Councillor Helen Holland, Cabinet Lead for Adult Social Care, said: “It is really important that our services in Bristol, who often work with very vulnerable people, have a good understanding of autism, can recognise the signs of someone who may be autistic and know how to respond. In Bristol we want people with autism to have the same opportunities as everyone else and the recommendations from this review will enable us to understand how we can do this effectively.”
Carried out independently by Sir Stephen Bubb, the review is currently underway and the findings will be published on the Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership website before the end of the year.
Sir Stephen said: “The Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership are to be congratulated for setting up this review into the many failings of the systems that should care for people with learning disabilities or autism.
“I have been speaking to three families in particular and am extremely concerned at what they are telling me. I would hope that all agencies locally can learn from my review how these failings can occur and what we need to do to change things for the better. In reviewing these three cases I want to make more general recommendations for action that will have a real impact on the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Councillor Mike Davies, Bristol City Council Autism Champion, said he welcomes the review: “Autism is a spectrum and autistic people are individuals; they do not all experience the world in the same way or have the same needs. However, there are changes that any venue, premises or organisation can make to become more autism-friendly – small changes can go a long way. Becoming more autism-friendly city will benefit our whole community.”
- If you have any experiences relevant to the Autism Review, Sir Stephen is keen to hear from you and you can contact him directly via email at