Easier Read – the Autism Act – Lessons to Learn

Anne at Barod CIC has helped me put the post about the Autism Act 2009 into easier words (thanks again Anne). Check out the original post for more detailed information.

In 2009 there was a new law. It is called the Autism Act. It is meant to help adults with autism. Lots of people worked together. The National Autistic Society did a lot of work.

If they did it, so can we!

Here is how they did it:
Campaigners said what they wanted.
The ideas got written into a Bill – a suggested new law.
An MP put it forward a Private Member’s Bill – a type of new law.
The government agreed to support the Bill and it then became law.

We want to do this too.

But, the Autism Act hasn’t done everything it was hoped it would do.
We need to work out why.
We need to learn from the Autism Act.
This will help us to get a new law that does what we want.

The Autism Act is a type of law called a framework. This type of law does not have detailed rules. It says that someone in the Government will write the rules later. These rules are called guidance.
The Autism Act says local councils and the NHS must do what the guidance says unless they have a good reason to do things differently.

I think there are 2 problems with this.

Problem 1
Local councils and the NHS find it easier to be told 2 or 3 things to do.
They find it harder to work out what the guidance means when it says lots of different things.
They find it harder to work out how to do what the guidance says.
It is also harder for people to know what their rights are when they are in guidance. So it is harder to make sure you get your rights.

Problem 2
People get muddled by guidance.
They forget if guidance is the law, or just good ideas.
No-one is sure when local councils and the NHS can do things differently than the guidance says.

So for #LBBill, I think that we must get the most important rules written into the new law itself – not just in guidance.

We need to keep #LBBill simple. If the new law is simple, then:

• Local councils and NHS know what they must do
• People know what their rights are
• The law won’t just sit on a shelf and be ignored

Tell us what you think! See the guide on how to do it at the end of the last easier read post.