A Statutory Code of Practice aimed at improving awareness and accessibility of autism services across Wales will be laid before the Senedd today (24 March).
The Code outlines the services and support autistic people can expect to access in their local communities.
Accompanying guidance will inform autistic people, their parents and carers about the support available to them and raise awareness of their needs to improve the quality of their lives.
It is intended that the Code will come into force on 1 September 2021 and be supported by an updated delivery plan for the existing autism strategy.
For 2021-22 the Welsh Government has pledged £143,500 to support the Autism Strategy, including £126,500 for the National Autism Team, £28,000 for Regional Partnership Boards to prepare for the implementation of the Statutory Code of Practice and £4,000 to support continued stakeholder engagement.
£120,000 has also been provided for a demand and capacity review of all neurodevelopmental services to identify gaps in provision and support the development of sustainable services. This is in addition to another £3million being invested in the national Integrated Autism Service (IAS) in the 2021-22 financial year.
The Code and guidance have been developed in close partnership with autistic people, their parents and carers, as well as third sector organisations, practitioners and services delivering support.
Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Eluned Morgan, said:
We need to create a kinder, more sensitive society that can respond positively and support autistic people, their families and carers.
Throughout the development of the Code and guidance we have engaged extensively with the autistic community as we were determined to hear their views and understand what was important to them. It will improve the quality of support services available and raise awareness of what is accessible to them.
I am pleased we have achieved our ambition to lay this before the Senedd during this term and anticipate it will come into force later this year.