Autism Act 2009

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The Autism Act 2009[1]
Long title An Act to make provision about meeting the needs of adults with autistic spectrum conditions; and for connected purposes.
Chapter 2009 c 15
Introduced by Cheryl Gillan and Baroness Pitkeathley [2]
Territorial extent England and Wales[3]
Dates
Royal Assent 12 November 2009[2]
Commencement 12 January 2010 [4]
Status: Current legislation
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Autism Act 2009 (c 15) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act makes provision about the needs of adults who have autism. It is the first ever disability-specific legislation to be passed in the United Kingdom.[5]

Background[edit]

The Act began as part of the National Autistic Society's I Exist campaign which led to the creation of a Private Members Bill.[6] This was drafted by a number of autism related organisations:[7]

It was introduced to the House of Commons by Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan on 21 January 2009.[8] It was then introduced to the House of Lords on 2 June 2009.[9]

Duties[edit]

Autism Strategy[edit]

The Secretary of State has a duty to prepare and publish an autism strategy which sets out the strategy for meeting the needs of adults in England with autism by improving the provision of relevant services to such adults by local authorities, National Health Service (NHS) bodies and foundation trusts.[10] This strategy has to be published no later than 1 April 2010.[11]

The Secretary of State must keep the strategy under review.[12] They must also consult and seek the participation of persons they deem appropriate when preparing the strategy and revising it in such a way which would result in a substantial change to the strategy in the Secretary of State's opinion.[13]

Guidance[edit]

In order for the strategy to be successful, the Secretary of State must issue guidance to NHS bodies and local authorities by no later than 31 December 2010.[14] The Secretary of State must also keep the guidance under review.[15] The guidance must include guidance about:[16]

  1. the provision of relevant services for the purpose of diagnosing autistic spectrum conditions in adults;
  2. the identification of adults with such conditions;
  3. the assessment of the needs of adults with such conditions for relevant services;
  4. planning in relation to the provision of relevant services to persons with autistic spectrum conditions as they move from being children to adults;
  5. other planning in relation to the provision of relevant services to adults with autistic spectrum conditions;
  6. the training of staff who provide relevant services to adults with such conditions;
  7. local arrangements for leadership in relation to the provision of relevant services to adults with such conditions.

The Secretary of State must also consult local authorities and NHS bodies when issuing guidance or when revising it in such a way which would result in a substantial change to the guidance.[17]

Local Authorities and NHS Bodies[edit]

Local authorities and NHS bodies have a duty under this Act to treat guidance as if it were general guidance issued under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970.[18]

Expenses[edit]

Parliament will pay for any expenditure incurred under or because of this Act by the Secretary of State and any increase due to the introduction of the Act.[19]

Provisions[edit]

Section 6(2) provides that the Act came into force at the end of the period of two months that began on the date on which it was passed. The word "months" means calendar months.[20] The day (that is to say, 12 November 2009) on which the Act was passed (that is to say, received royal assent) is included in the period of two months.[21] This means that the Act came into force on 12 January 2010.

Reception[edit]

Sasha Daly, Policy & Parliamentary Manager at TreeHouse, said: “At TreeHouse we believe that the there is still much work to be done to improve services for the one in 100 children and young people with autism. Their parents all too often have to fight to get the right provision for their children. We will be working with the Department for Children, Schools and Families to ensure that they keep to their word to implement these improvements.”[22]

Richard Mills, Director of Research at Research Autism, said: “This is a wonderful end to a determined campaign led by the NAS. We are hopeful that it will lead to an improvement in services and support for adults with autism in England. As the evidence base for effective services for adults is poor we hope that the Autism Strategy, that will underpin the Act, will take full account of the potential contribution of research to the development of effective services. Research Autism is proud to have been associated with this campaign.”[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 6(3) of this Act.
  2. ^ a b "Bills before Parliament". UK Parliament. Retrieved December 7, 2009. 
  3. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 6(1)
  4. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 6(2)
  5. ^ "Autism Act 2009". Autism Support and Care. Retrieved December 7, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Adult autism strategy to be published in 2010". National Autistic Society. Retrieved December 7, 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Autism Bill: partnership organisations". National Autistic Society. Retrieved December 7, 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Autism Act 2009". National Autistic Society. Retrieved December 7, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Bill stages — Autism Bill 2008-09". UK Parliament. Retrieved December 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 1
  11. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 1(3)
  12. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 1(4)
  13. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 1(6)
  14. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 2(2)
  15. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 2(3)
  16. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 2(5)
  17. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 2(6)
  18. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 3
  19. ^ The Autism Act 2009, section 5
  20. ^ The Interpretation Act 1978, section 5 and Schedule 1
  21. ^ Hare v Gocher [1962] 2 QB 641, [1962] 2 All ER 673; Trow v Ind Coope (West Midlands) Ltd [1967] 2 QB 899 at 909, [1967] 2 All ER 900, CA.
  22. ^ "TreeHouse celebrates the Autism Act 2009". TreeHouse. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Autism Act 2009". Research Autism. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 

External links[edit]