Following my recent work on this important issue locally, I was very pleased to hear from the National Autistic Society that, following further discussions with North Northamptonshire Council, they have agreed a six-month extension to continue their services locally at their Irthlingborough daycentre. I know that this will come as a relief to many concerned families and service users who rely on their services day-to-day. The importance of their wraparound care and support is undeniable.
However, while this is certainly a step in the right direction and I commend the collaboration, I know that there is still more to do in ensuring that appropriate provision remains in place for the long-term, and this extension will allow for key discussions moving forward to try and find an appropriate durable solution.
Please find below a statement from the National Autistic Society that I have received, that clarifies the position more fully, but service users and their families can be assured that I will continue to work constructively with them and the local authority to make sure that their loved ones are properly supported in the long-term.
Joint statement between North Northamptonshire Council and the National Autistic Society (20 October 2023)
Discussions held with National Autistic Society
Representatives from North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) met with the National Autistic Society yesterday (19 October) to discuss the future of support services in the local area.
The two organisations have agreed to a 6-month extension to the services provided in the area, allowing for all parties to find a more permanent, long term solution for support services in North Northamptonshire.
This extension will allow NNC to work with service users and their families to identify the most suitable route forward.
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of North Northamptonshire Council, said: “Following a meeting this week with senior staff from the National Autistic Society, I am pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement where the National Autistic Society will extend the services they provide across North Northamptonshire for 6 months.
“Both organisations remain committed to working together to identify a more permanent, long term solution for service users.
“Our priority has always been those who use these services and their families and to ensure they are receiving the right care in the appropriate setting. So, I am pleased that we will be working closely with those impacted to identify the most suitable route forward and that the process is a positive and smooth one.”
Steven Rose, Managing Director, Adult Services, at the National Autistic Society, said: “We are delighted that we have reached an agreement with North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) to continue to deliver care for the people we support for another six months. This means that our Northants services will not close at the end of this year.
“This is excellent news for the continuity of care for all the people we support who use our services. In the coming months we will continue to work with NNC to find a more permanent solution for these services.
“We remain sorry that the people we support, their families and our staff had to go through the process of cancelling contracts and issuing notice to close the services, but sadly we had been left with no choice. We do not underestimate the distress this has caused the people we support and their families. We would like to thank North Northamptonshire Council for working with us to ensure we can continue to provide care in our much-needed services for the next six months.”
The National Autistic Society delivers services to 25 adults in North Northants, providing residential care, supported living and living and learning arrangements. Further updates will be provided in due course.