Publication - Research and analysis

Review of Autism Network Scotland

Published: 15 Sep 2016

Review to inform the development of any future Autism Network Scotland, or other strategic delivery partner.

49 page PDF

521.0 kB

49 page PDF

521.0 kB

Review of Autism Network Scotland
Annex 1: activities of autism network scotland

49 page PDF

521.0 kB

Annex 1: activities of autism network scotland

Details of the activities of Autism Network Scotland are given below.

Conferences, roadshows, meetings and events

ANS is involved in planning, developing and delivering a wide range of conferences, roadshows, meetings and events. These are often organised in collaboration or partnership with other organisations and networks. These events often aim to include people with autism and their families and carers as well as practitioners and professionals.

The network supports the dissemination of 'products' of the Scottish Strategy for Autism. For example both the 'Menu of Interventions' and the 'Exploring Transitions' documents were launched at roadshows organised and facilitated by ANS which health and social care professionals attended.

ANS hosts the annual national strategy conferences. In 2015, the 4 th annual conference focused on the theme of 'Good autism practice' and was attended by 200 delegates. In 2014, the 3 rd annual conference was entitled 'From foundation to whole life journey' and was attended by 126 delegates.

Other ANS events held in 2015 included:

  • Two learning events for women and girls with autism (co-hosted with the Scottish Women's Autism Network) each of which was attended by 65-70 delegates
  • Three Autism Strategy Collaborative meetings involving lead officers within local organisations and partnerships to discuss, respectively, good practice, complex care and out-of-area placements, and transitions across the lifespan each of which was attended by around 50-60 delegates
  • A 'Listening to Community' event in Perth (delivered in partnership with members of the autistic community) attended by over 35 people with autism, and their parents and carers
  • Two afternoon workshops for mid-range providers and those involved in commissioning services to hear about the strategy, the NHS Education Training Framework and Action Plan, and service provision. These were each attended by 40-50 delegates
  • An 'Autism and Employment' event to examine the employment process from the perspectives of people with autism, services that support them, and employers, and to launch the new Autism and Employment Network website. The event was attended by over 90 people including people with autism, parents, carers and practitioners
  • A good practice symposium for support and intervention for people with ASD (co-hosted with NHS Education for Scotland) to share existing examples of good practice in adapting support and intervention within social care settings. This was attended by over 70 delegates
  • A collaborative event with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists to update Speech and Language Therapists on national developments in autism. There were around 50 delegates, most of whom were Speech and Language Therapists
  • A collaborative event with Project SEARCH targeted at employers was attended by 25 delegates representing a range of businesses across Glasgow
  • An event specifically for the Borders region about 'Understanding Behaviours' was attended by 66 delegates.

Establishing and maintaining networks

ANS is involved in both establishing, facilitating and developing a range of networks. In the past, there was also a focus on developing virtual networks; however more recently issues relating to privacy and security, particularly in relation to those in the NHS having difficulty accessing virtual networks has meant that the main focus is now on face-to-face networks.

The main active networks currently are both geographic (Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, North Lanarkshire) and topic specific (Early Years, Education, Employment, Transitions, and the Scottish Women's Autism Network - SWAN).

Supporting and developing the ANS website

A new website for ANS was developed with the help of the IT department of the University of Strathclyde in 2012. The website has continued to evolve ever since. In 2014, an additional element was added to the ANS website, to reflect ANS's expanded role in relation to the Scottish Strategy on Autism.

Newsletters and events bulletins

ANS produces regular (bi-monthly) newsletters which report on both ANS events and activities and autism events and activities more broadly. The newsletters have a small amount of more discursive content.

Events bulletins are circulated on a fortnightly basis. The bulletins advertise events on a wide geographic basis, and include notification of events run by the national autism organisations as well as more local events.

The information in both the newsletters and the events bulletins is gathered through the wide range of contacts which ANS has with service providers, service users and other stakeholders.

Enquiries and signposting

In 2015, ANS received 220 enquiries. It is not known how many of these were from professionals, and how many from people with autism / family members and carers. When an enquiry is received the individual is provided with relevant information about local and national services and resources and / or put in touch with a specific individual or service.

Supporting the development of local autism strategies and plans

ANS engages to some degree with the development of all (32) local autism strategies across Scotland. The type of engagement is specifically tailored to the needs of the local area. The types of support which are offered include:

  • Organising local events and roadshows (including on Transitions and the Menu of Interventions)
  • Attending local strategy meetings (including consultation events and strategy implementation events)
  • Facilitation of meetings to engage parents and others with local strategies
  • Conference calls, meetings and discussions with local lead officers
  • Establishing and servicing / facilitating local networks (including developing local newsletters)
  • Providing comment and feedback on draft local strategies and plans (including improving alignment with national outcomes)
  • Facilitating visits to facilities which offer insights into good practice or innovative solutions.

Supporting the Scottish Strategy for Autism

ANS staff attend meetings of the Governance Group and Working Groups, and provide a secretariat / facilitation role which includes organising meetings, taking minutes, and posting details on the ANS website. ANS also organises and delivers events which are linked to the strategy (for example the 'Exploring Transitions - Digging Deeper' roadshows described above is linked to the Working Group on transitions).


Email: Annette Pyle,