The Sheffield Autism Partnership


Following the council’s “autism summit” in May 2015, a number of individuals and groups with a direct interest in improving information, opportunities and services for the autistic community in Sheffield (including members of Sheffield Autistic Society) have been working in different ways with Sheffield City Council and Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to try to make progress in line with the Autism Act (2009) and the National Strategy on Autism.

We include autistic people, family members, carers and professionals who want  to “do something” about what has long been a severely neglected issue in Sheffield.

From 2015 to 2018 there were working groups on Employment, and on Autism Training, Awareness and Information. (See below.)

From May 2016 a series of planning or steering group meetings were held, together with officers of the Sheffield City Council and of the Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, with a view to establishing an Autism Partnership Board or equivalent body for Sheffield.

A public consultation / survey about proposals for the formal establishment of an Autism Partnership and an Autism Partnership Board in Sheffield was held during the period December 2016 to February 2017. A summary of the public response to the survey is available here: Autism Partnership Survey report .

Having considered the responses to the survey, the Autism Partnership planning group, at their meeting on 22nd May 2017, adopted as a first stage a set of proposals about the ‘next steps’ for the partnership in Sheffield (see below).

Sheffield Autism Partnership Board

Sheffield’s Autism Partnership Board now meets 6 times a year to improve the provision of services and support for autistic adults and their families in Sheffield, including young autistic persons in transition to adulthood. Members include representatives from Sheffield City Council and local NHS bodies, community and voluntary sector organisations and services; autistic adults, their parents, carers and family members, professionals and other relevant organisations and individuals.

See here for the full text of the proposals, Sheffield APB Next Steps, adopted at the meeting. The Sheffield Autism Partnership Board Terms of Reference  were agreed and adopted at the meeting of 2nd October 2017.

For a list of downloadable Sheffield Autism Partnership key documents, together with the agenda and minutes of recent meetings of the Sheffield Autism Partnership Steering Group / Autism Partnership Board  see this page.

On 4th December 2017 Frazer Kirk of Sheffield City Council, sent out a ‘progress report’ about the Sheffield Autism Partnership and Autism Partnership Board, and an invitation to become involved.  The Partnership and the Board urgently need more people and organisations to become involved if they are to be successful in their goal of improving services and support to autistic people and their families and carers in Sheffield.

The text of Frazer’s letter can be read here: Autism Partnership Update (Word format). There are 3 attachments which you can download:

Working Group on Employment

The Autism Partnership Working Group on Employment considered issues about employment and how to improve employment opportunities in Sheffield for people with autistic spectrum conditions. Sylvia Johnson, the leader of this group provided a summary of some of the work of this group. See the Working Group on Employment page, where you can also download minutes of  meetings and other documents.

Employment is now a key area being considered within the developing Sheffield Autism Strategy.

Working Group on Training, Awareness and Information

The aim of this group was to look at how we can improve Autism Awareness in the City.
Until 2017 the group was led by Emily Morton of Disability Sheffield.  The group  suggested some key actions for progressing this area, with recommendations on how these can be achieved.  A new working group on training is continuing to meet from time to time, led by Donna Turner of Sheffield City Council.
For more information, together with notes from meetings, see the Working Group on Training, Awareness and Information page.

Sheffield Autism Network

In June 2017 Liz Friend and Sylvia Johnson issued a public invitation to people and groups in Sheffield with an interest in autism, as it affects all age groups, to attend an inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Autism Network:

“We are two parents involved with the autism community in Sheffield and we think it would be useful for Sheffield to host and maintain an Autism Network, so that organisations and individuals can share information about things they are doing, and can identify priorities for action in Sheffield that will not only help enhance services but will also help make Sheffield a more autism-friendly place to live, whatever your age.”

“We aim to bring all those with an interest in autism – either personally and/or professionally – by establishing an Autism Network for Sheffield. We hope that will be able to inform the work of the newly established 0-25 Young People and Children’s Autism Strategy Group and the Sheffield Autism Partnership between Sheffield Council, the local Clinical Commissioning Group, families and autistic adults. We also hope to collectively build on local work to engage businesses and the private sector, arts and film venues, and employers.”

The inaugural meeting of the network was held on 4th July 2017 and was attended by individual members of the public and representatives of a wide range of voluntary organisations, schools and universities in Sheffield. It is hoped to arrange a second meeting in the autumn.

Please use this Facebook site to post updates and share information. The Sheffield Autistic Society website will also publish details of the Autism Partnership Board minutes and any notices regarding the Network.

We understand that some people may wish to be involved but are unable to attend meetings but we will vary the times of meetings to try to accommodate different needs. We also hope to establish a social media presence so that it is easy for individuals and groups to share information.”