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The National Autistic Society suggest that 1 in 100 people are on the autistic spectrum in the UK


We are working collaboratively to identify the right skills, values and behaviours the workforce require, so that people experience excellent care and support.

News updates

Have your say 

Department of Health & Social Care: Review of the National Autism Strategy have your say now - closes 16 May 19. 

Learning disability and autism training for health and care staff is open: public consultation click here to have your say - closes 12 April 19.

Autism Act - 10 Years On Survey click here to contribute - closes 07 April 19.

Frequently ask questions 

Based on the types and number of enquires the Autism Workforce programme has been receiving over the past few weeks. We have developed a frequently asked questions page that we hope will answer many of your questions.  

HEE Autism - Frequently asked questions 

Autism Core Capabilities Framework 

If you wish to register your interest in this work and provide consultation on the framework as it reaches the draft stage visit the Skills for Health website. You will then be invited to take part in an online survey as part of the consultation process (expected early 2019).

Key achievements so far:

  • Project steering group set up (first meeting on 6 December) to agree project scope and planning
  • Additional members invited to join steering group 
  • Future steering group meetings scheduled and venues booked
  • Co-production workshops completed and finding currently under review pending publication 
  • Outcomes of the co-production workshops and the initial research was reviewed at the second steering group on 26 February 2019 

Upcoming milestones 

  • Initial desk research and framework mapping will commence

Background to our work 

The National Autistic Society suggest that over 700,000 (1 in 100) people are on the autistic spectrum in the UK, more recent findings published by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that this number could be closer to 1 in 59. For these people and their families, there is often a battle to get the information, support and care they need. Fundamental struggle exists for people with autism in engaging with the world around them, leading to difficulties accessing adequate services. 

In March of 2018 the Government published the “Think Autism strategy governance refresh” in which, to ensure future sustainability of the workforce caring for and supporting people of all ages with autism, it laid out two overarching strategy objectives: 

  1. Reducing the gap in life expectancy for autistic people 
  2. Autistic people are able to play a full role in society 

The two objectives where broken down across 5 domains of which workforce development became the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care and Health Education England. 

On 5th December we were really pleased to see the Government's announcement that will be leading a “review to improve the lives of autistic children”. The review will inform the new joint adults and children's autism strategy to be published in autumn 2019, find out more about the review.

What are we doing now? 

Health Education England have been directed by the task and finish group members that make up the workforce development to support the development of the first national Autism Core Capabilities Framework for health and care staff, and staff in organisations with public facing responsibilities. The framework will be required to span all ages and will need to demonstrate the collaborative nature of its development (including co-production with autistic people and their families) across multiple partners. 

The purpose of the framework is to support development and planning of the workforce, and to inform the design and delivery of education and training programmes. 

The project team includes people working for Skills for Health, the National Autistic Society, Opening Minds Training and Consultancy Ltd and Skills for Care. This group includes some autistic people and people with experience of having autistic family members. 

Our aspirations 

The framework is an essential first step to better meeting the needs of people who need and require access to services. It is our aspiration to work with others during 2019 to identify current resources available at all levels bench marked against the framework. We would also like to parallel this against a piece of work carried out across an international platform to ascertain what good looks like so that we can support the workforce to further develop in a real and sustainable way that will make real changes to people with lived experiences and their families. 

Our vision 

Children and adults with or without an official identification of Autistic Spectrum Conditions have the right to receive support when they need it, from a workforce that is equipped with the right skills, values and behaviours. We would like to continue to work with experts by experience, their families and other experts in the field to support the workforce to continue to grow and evolve their practices so that they can better support people to live a good life. 

How to get in touch? 

The team currently leading on the national Autism programme can be contacted at autism@hee.nhs.uk for general enquires.  

For all parliamentary enquires please contact the Public & Parliamentary Accountability team at parliamentary@hee.nhs.uk