Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information relating to autism post diagnostic pilot: FOI review

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
9 Mar 2021
Information relating to autism post diagnostic pilot: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/202000128999 Review of 202000122220
Date received: 22 Dec 2021
Date responded: 3 Feb 2021
Information requested

1. A breakdown of what organisation received what amount, with an explanation as to why that amount;
2. A minute(s) of the meeting which picked the said organisations; and
3. Any procurement/tendering of such applications for being in the pilot.

Response

I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). 

I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with modifications. In reaching this decision, I have the analysed the process carried out in response to your original request and the information provided.

In the course of my review, I have investigated the search process undertaken before providing you with the aforementioned response. I can confirm that the policy lead of the post diagnostic support pilot carried out a search of the Scottish Government's electronic data record management system and a search of emails in Microsoft Outlook, which are routinely saved into the record management system. I have also carried out my own search of the system as part of my review and I also contacted other members of the Neurodevelopmental Support Team, requesting a search of their emails. I can confirm that these additional searches did not identify any further information other than that provided to you in our initial response dated 17 December 2020. 

Question 1
I am satisfied that the first part of your request for a breakdown of what organisation received what amount has been answered fully. The second part of your question asked for an explanation as to why each organisation received the amount that they did. Funding was provided to the organisations at the levels required to run their services for a 6-month period as part of the pilot. Those organisations submitted details of their services and the funding level required and funding was allocated based on that amount.

Question 2
The second part of your request was for minute(s) of the meeting(s) which picked the said organisations and any procurement/tendering of such applications for being in the pilot. Our response informed you that the Scottish Government cannot provide that information as it does not exist, but I have concluded that it would have been helpful to provide a further explanation.

I can confirm that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because it does not exist. I will provide further explanation relating to the funding process in my response to Question 3.

This is a formal notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

Question 3
The third part of your request was for any procurement/tendering of such applications for being in the pilot. Our response informed you that the Scottish Government cannot provide that information as it does not exist but it would have been helpful to provide a further explanation.

I can confirm that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because it does not exist. I will provide further information below.

This is a formal notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

In September 2019, in Protecting Scotland’s Future: the Government’s Programme for Scotland 2019/20, the Scottish Government committed to develop an online autism support service to help people live positively with autism while reducing the demand for services through CAMHS, Psychological Therapies and other public services. Early thinking was on developing an online resource with artificial intelligence to be able to interact with users to direct online support.

The Covid-19 pandemic had delayed the progressing of that commitment and funding was unspent.

Early policy exploring of a resource using artificial intelligence would take time over a number of years but autistic people more than ever need post diagnostic support now. Covid-19 had affected many autistic people in Scotland. Many had been anxious and have found the past few months much tougher due to the imposed changes of routines due to lockdown. What practically would be better to develop to support those who have experienced uncertainty, are interventions which are currently in place but underfunded due to the reliance on charity fundraising.

In order to meet this immediate and urgent need to support access for services during the pandemic, a proposal was developed to re-profile the funding in this financial year to develop a national hub of funded post diagnostic support from currently available and underfunded services delivered by national charities. A collaborative approach with other organisations, particularly those that are autistic led could offer a reach across Scotland.

Ministers were provided with information on some of the components of post diagnostic support that would form part of a proposal to pilot a national hub. The aim was to signpost people to a National post diagnostic hub of resources on our campaign website, and we would work with the national charities to look at how continued funding of services supported during Covid-19 and other current services would develop into a national response to post diagnostic support, within the current funding available.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG