APB Minutes - 19 September 2023

Autism Partnership Board meeting

Time: 10am to 12.30pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams Virtual Meeting / Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club, Eastbourne

Chairs: Mark Stainton, Director of Adult Social Care and Health and Sam Williams, Assistant Director of Adult Social Care and Health

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

Mark Stainton welcomed everyone to the meeting, introductions were made, and apologies noted.

2. Agree minutes from previous meeting

The minutes from the meeting held on 20 June 2023 were reviewed and accepted as an accurate record of discussions.

3. Actions from previous meeting

It was agreed that actions 12, 24, 25 and 26 would be closed.

Action 22: Neurodevelopmental Pathway and East Sussex referrals: Update to be provided in the December meeting. NHS Sussex is holding further workshops in September, as listed below. If anyone is interested in finding out more, please email: apb@eastsussex.gov.uk.

  1. Portsmouth Profiling Tool - held 14 September
  2. Digital – 20 September
  3. Early support – 26 September
  4. Co-ordinated Access - 28 September

Action 23: Meeting to be held w/c 18 September regarding the Autism article for social care practitioners.

4. Supported internships and employment outcomes for young people

A presentation was given about the national and local aims of supported internships for young people with special educational needs. It is a structured, work-based study programme for those aged 16 to 24 years with an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

The Department for Education is funding a three-year programme.

National aims are to:

  • Double current supported internships to 4500 per year by strengthening the quality of information, advice and guidance for parents, carers and employers, and broaden the local offer to provide choice, preparation for adulthood and the world of work.
  • Support over 800 employer champions by training employers currently mentoring or wanting to mentor young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
  • Provide training to at least 760 job coaches to strengthen the quality of work support for interns as well as working with employers to develop confidence and awareness.
  • Support over 1000 new employers to offer supported internship placements by creating more information, training, and resources for employers (videos, webinars, toolkits and events).

East Sussex objectives:

  • development of the East Sussex Supported Employment Forum
  • development of the Post 16 Local Offer
  • training and development
  • strengthening the quality and outcomes of supported internships
  • events and information sharing
  • developing resources for parents / carers, employers and young people

This includes identifying key priorities and opportunities within a young person’s journey from year 9 onwards.

Following the presentation there was a question-and-answer session which clarified the following:

  • Employer champions are employers who currently support young people with special educational needs into work. The champions are trained to support and mentor other employers and businesses to do the same. Note: following the meeting it was confirmed the training is also open to employers who are interested in offering opportunities.
  • An individual must currently have an EHCP to access the programme. However, there are national plans to pilot programmes for young people and adults without an EHCP at the end of this year.
  • In 2022 to 2023 there were 36 young people on supported internships in East Sussex. Approximately half have moved into paid employment, the remainder are currently looking for employment or moving into other educational pathways such as apprenticeships. A priority for the Supported Internship team is to work with colleges to improve the quality of their supported internships by offering supported employment qualifications for providers, employer engagement courses and embedding the quality assurance framework for supported internships. The team is working to increase the number of programmes and opportunities available by 2024 to 2025.
  • It was recognised that some young people will require ongoing support to keep them in employment after the initial supported internship, for example through Access to Work, specialist coaching, and work place needs assessments. There is some support in place already but it varies across providers so the Supported Internship team is working to improve this.
  • It was clarified that supported internships are focused on aged 16 to 25 years, but there may be further gaps and opportunities to support people aged 26 and over through supported employment.
  • Supported Employment Forum members have promoted supported internships to local businesses and Chamber of Commerce. Providers lead the work to engage with local businesses to develop supported internships. It was suggested that a central list could be held of all interested East Sussex businesses.
  • It was clarified that all young people can be put forward for Supported Internships if they have an EHCP, but there needs to be enough providers to support them and young people need to be work ready.
  • It was confirmed that the programme is linked with the East Sussex Parent Carer Forum through the Supported Employment Forum. The next forum meeting agenda will be discussing a parent carer information event in East Sussex that will be delivered by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTI).
  • It was suggested that Supported Employment / internship opportunities could be encouraged through key performance indicators within Council contracts. It was confirmed that access to employment for people with disabilities has been included as part of the social value element of the community mental health service procurement which is currently out to tender.
  • A concern was raised around the sustainability of employment. If a young person does not move into full time employment after an internship, it may be difficult for them to obtain benefits again. This may put individuals off participating.

Action: MT to be linked with the Prevent programme.

Action: Information relating to national training and the post 16 ICan event in November to be shared.

Action: If anyone has any further comments or questions email APB@eastsussex.gov.uk.

Action: Future agenda item for update to be given.

5. Oliver McGowan draft code of practice – ESCC consultation response

A presentation was given on the ESCC's response to the government consultation on the draft code of practice on autism and learning disabilities training. Consultation closes today. ESCC have submitted their response.

The code of practice has three main points:

  • All training for Health and Social Care staff should meet four training standards.
  • The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training is the government’s recommended package to meet the legislative requirement.
  • Training should be re-taken at least every three years.
    Information was provided on how the current ESCC provision of training provided will meet the four training standards.

Training standard 1

East Sussex provide separate or individual courses aligned with the core capability frameworks for supporting autistic people and people with a learning disability.

Training standard 2

Training should enable staff to explore how they will put their learning into practice. East Sussex trainers use a range of methods, resources and materials tailored to the context within which staff are doing the training, along with the different settings people are working in. This ensures we provide the right resources, handouts and materials and links to further information should they require it. We also encourage individuals to share information with teams.

Training standard 3

The training delivery model needs to be live and interactive, and co-produced and delivered by people with learning disability and autistic people. East Sussex training modules are live, interactive and co-produced. Autism courses are delivered over two hours on Zoom.

Training standard 4

All training content should be evidence based, current and accredited. ESCC training is evidence based and current but not all training is accredited. However, training is quality assured through peer observation, feedback from participants and evaluation forms. Trainers with a learning disability and autistic trainers are involved in these processes.

Through their consultation response, ESCC have raised concerns about the delivery method prescribed in the draft code of practice, which was supported by APB members.

Board members also agreed that the current ESCC autism training meets standards 1,2 and 3.

6. Adult Social Care strategy

A presentation was given on the key priorities of the Adult Social Care strategy:

  • The strategy is called ‘What Matters to You’
  • 700 residents were consulted using surveys, face to face interviews and focus groups
  • Six priorities have been identified:
    - right support, right place, right time
    - information and communication about care and support
    - cost of living and cost of care, now and in the future
    - a suitable home
    - personal connections with others
    - group activities, hobbies, and volunteering

During the consultation period, neurodivergent people fed back they would like:

  • more staff trained in neurodiversity
  • more timely support and information
  • community places to get information face-to-face
  • better support to manage money, benefits and debt
  • support to connect with peers with shared needs and interests
  • community groups that are accessible and inclusive

Strategy next steps:

  • continue to launch the strategy
  • develop an action plan
  • share lessons learned from the project

Feedback from the breakout room discussions included:

  • The strategy identifies the six key priorities for the department so it is high level, but it was acknowledged there will be other priorities, such as supported employment, identified through more localised strategies and delivery plans.
  • The delivery of the strategy will be monitored by the Citizens Panel who were involved in shaping the strategy every six months. There will also be regular scrutiny through the VCSE Alliance and through Adult Social Care client surveys, as well as wider resident surveys who are not yet engaged in Adult Social Care.
  • It was felt it was a wide ranging and balanced strategy, which was accessible and there has been genuine engagement throughout. However, some people didn’t like the word strategy.
  • There was a question raised around carers involvement. Confirmation that this had taken place over the Summer and Autumn 2022, including invitations out via the Autism Partnership Board.
  • It was recognised that it can be difficult to find services that meet the needs of autistic people.
  • It was asked how we will know if community groups are neurodivergent friendly? There has been some initial discussion about how we will identify this, and whether community groups undertake a self-assessment to establish this.
  • The reach of the strategy engagement was reviewed, both in terms of people's protected characteristics and whether people were already engaged with Adult Social Care or not. There had been a good level of representation across different stakeholders. In the survey conducted with 700 responses, around one-third were from carers and or family members.
  • The importance of transition from children to adult services was recognised and has been reflected in the strategy, but the detail is still being developed for the action plan.
  • The importance of reflecting suicide prevention in the strategy and action plan was acknowledged by the group.
  • It was queried whether the resources are available to deliver the strategy. The Adult Social Care department are in the final stages of obtaining some resource from the County Council to take forward particular aspects of delivering the strategy.

Action: Suggestions about how the strategy could be further promoted, or if there are other opportunities for engagement should be forwarded to ASCPersonalisation@eastsussex.gov.uk.

7. Terms of reference

The draft terms of reference for the East Sussex Autism Partnership Board were discussed. The feedback from Board members was:

  • Language should reflect that not all autistic people have carers.
  • Include in the Partnership Board aims to build knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of autism in local communities.
  • Consider wider inclusion of neurodivergent conditions in the Terms of Reference, rather than being autism specific. It was agreed that although the Board will remain as the Autism Partnership Board, the agenda and discussion within meetings should be reflective of co-occurring neurodivergent conditions.

Action: It was agreed to amend the terms of reference to reflect comments for final sign off at the next APB meeting.

8. Any other business

Joyfully Different: A newly established Sussex based organisation has contacted the partnership board to introduce their business academy and community network for neurodivergent entrepreneurs.

Proposed agenda items for the December meeting:

  • Autism Acceptance Week
  • Neurodevelopmental Pathway
  • Brain in Hand

9. The next meeting is to be held on Tuesday 7 December 2023