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ICSs must be involved in housing plans for autistic people

ICSs must be involved in housing plans for autistic people
By Jess Hacker
17 October 2023

Leaders and commissioners within an integrated care system (ICS) should make ‘active contributions’ to joint housing plans for autistic people and people with a learning disability, NHS England has advised.

In new guidance (12 October) intended to improve partnership working, NHS England urged ICSs to work with local authority social care and council housing departments to develop joint housing plans.

ICSs should also have developed ‘good, personalised care plans’ that include details of ‘where that person will live and how any needs relating to housing will be met’, among other health and care support needs.

The new guiding principles were developed alongside the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

Under these principles, ICBs should also consider when commissioning services:

  • How ICS partners influence how services can make reasonable adjustments for people with a learning disability and autistic people
  • A range of commissioning options, including highly personalised approaches like personal budgets
  • A whole pathway approach that considers the needs of all children, young people and adults with a learning disability, and autistic people alongside ‘the needs of people that are living well within the community’.

ICBs must also ensure they have a means to represent people with a learning disability and autistic people across all neighbourhood and place-level plans, including those outside the health service.

In March, Healthcare Leader reported that a south west ICB had signed off new referral criteria for its children’s autism and community paediatrics services, which it expects will cut the number of people eligible for referral by around 60%.

As many as 140,000 people were waiting for an autism assessment nationally as of December 2022: a 40% increase in the number of people waiting in just one year.

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