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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Council in U-turn on plans to close Asperger's team

Written by The Editorial Team

Nottinghamshire County Council has reversed plans to cut its Asperger’s team after an outcry from the public.

The U-turn means the authority will continue to provide the service, which helps around 200 adults with Asperger’s.

Muriel Weisz, chair of the Council’s adult social care and health  committee, said: “It has been clear from the feedback that we have received from families who have benefitted from the Asperger’s team’s work that there is a risk that we could lose valuable specialist knowledge by disbanding it.

“We are having to make difficult decisions with all of our services due to reducing grants and increasing demand for key services, but we have taken on board people’s comments from the consultation by revising some of our proposals where we have been able to do so.”

As a result of the overall restructuring which was originally proposed, 56 jobs would have been lost resulting in fewer home visits and more contact via phone, online and clinic-style appointments.

The team was set up in advance of the Autism Act in 2009 which placed greater duties on local authorities to provide services for people with autism.

It is made up of social care workers with specialist knowledge of the needs of people with Asperger’s and are responsible for commissioning services which help support adults with the condition and their carers.

The council was proposing to reorganise teams which assess local young adults’ social care needs and move away from county wide teams to create an overall saving of £1.2 million, to be considered at its full council meeting on Thursday, February 27.

However, local parents and carers of adults with Asperger’s raised significant concerns about the loss of specialist knowledge so this team will not be included in this proposed reorganisation.