The needs of autistic adults and their families in England

Resources 04 December 2023

The needs of autistic adults and their families in England

Research undertaken for Autism Alliance.

Cordis Bright has been working with The Autism Alliance - a UK partnership of not-for-profit organisations who support autistic people and their families - to provide new evidence about the needs of autistic adults and their families in England. The report we have produced - Mapping supply and demand for care services for autistic adults in England - defines the size of the gap between supply and demand in specialist social care provision for autistic adults in England and explores the barriers that widen this gap, and enablers that may help to close it.

Our research involved a document review as well as interviews and surveys with providers of specialist social care services for autistic adults, and local authority stakeholders such as commissioners and service managers of autism services. We also ran a focus group with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ (ADASS) Autism and Learning Disability Group.

Some key messages from our research are:

  • There is a substantial gap between available capacity and demand for specialist social care services among autistic adults in England. This gap in care relates primarily to autistic adults with a moderate learning disability and is estimated to equate to over 10,000 people who are not receiving sufficient social care support.
  • The estimated cost of closing this gap is between £69.5 million and £139.2 million, equating to between 0.4% and 0.7% of current adult social care spend.
  • Local authorities, local NHS services, care providers, the CQC and mental health services should work more closely together to address the barriers holding back access to specialist care and support. These include supporting market development, strengthening accreditation and investing in staff training to improve general understanding of what autism is.

The report findings form part of The Autism Alliance’s Breaking Point campaign, which is raising awareness of the consequences of underinvestment in social care support for autistic adults and their families in England. The campaign is calling on the Government, local authorities, the NHS and the CQC to close this gap in care for autistic adults and to commit to wider reform of the social care system. To learn more and join the campaign, visit The Autism Alliance’s website here:


The needs of autistic adults and their families in EnglandDownload

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