Agenda item

Learning Disability Knowledge Cafe and Autism Partnership Update

A report is provided on the work of the Learning Disabilities Knowledge café and the Autism Partnership as vital forums for ensuring that learning disabled people and autistic people are involved in shaping services that impact on their lives.



Daniel Wilkins, Head of Service for Learning Disability and Autism, Emma Legg, Director of Ageing and Living Well, and Cllr Jane Davies, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, SEND, Transition and Inclusion, presented a report on the role of the Learning Disability Café and Autism Partnership in providing a forum to shape services that impact on the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism.


The presentation provided an introduction to the café and its principles alongside the key priorities and different areas of work, namely: changing services, advising businesses, developing training and campaigns. It was highlighted that the implementation of the café had changed approach in recent years to engage more people and greater capture the voices of learning disabled and autistic people to improve inclusivity and representation. It was explained that the events were hosted by the Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living (CIL) and as such they, alongside a Facebook group and communications from the Council themselves, promote each event. It was noted that approximately 10-20 people attend each café and although this number was low in comparison to the number of learning disabled and autistic people within Wiltshire, this was a huge improvement since the previous incarnation and officers were pleased with the process made. Despite this, officers stressed that they were continuing to strive for broader engagement and encouraged Members to share links and/or information on the cafes to residents or organisations that they felt could benefit from the service. Officers confirmed that with regard to the running on the event, they deferred to CIL as CIL was led by people with lived experience of disability and as such, they understand how best to organise the events to maximise comfort and engagement.


The key aims of the Autism Partnership were then shared and it was noted that as Members had not had sight of the Autism Strategy, a copy would be circulated post meeting. Following from this, the key priorities of the Strategy were shown, and it was noted that these were derived directly from the National Strategy to ensure cohesion across the plans. A rough timeframe was then detailed in which the six priorities of the Strategy would be explored during the next three meetings of the Autism Partnership in order to develop an Action Plan.


During the discussions, Members explored the role of carers and the support provided for them in order to aid the achievement of the Strategy aims. Furthermore, it was noted that officers had liaised with Wiltshire Police to deliver training sessions with new constables and that the recruitment of a person with autism to sit on one of their Boards was being pursued.


Following which, it was:




1)    To note the information provided on the work of the Learning Disability Knowledge Café and the Autism Partnership as forums for ensuring that learning disabled people and people with autism are involved with shaping services that impact on their lives.


2)    To note that Wiltshire Council’s Autism Strategy 2022-27 will be circulated to the Committee.






Note: The Committee adjourned for a comfort break from 12:35pm – 12:42pm.


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