NHS England and NHS Improvement publish review into Autism Spectrum Disorder services in South Staffordshire

An independent review of commissioning arrangements for Autism Spectrum Disorder services in South Staffordshire has been published by NHS England and NHS Improvement today (Tuesday 25 August).

The report considers the procurement and contract monitoring processes used by local NHS commissioners and provides a clear set of recommendations based on the findings.  

The review dates back to commissioning decisions taken by previous governing bodies in South Staffordshire and was commissioned following a series of high-profile concerns about the services available for children and young people in the area.

The contract for ASD services in South Staffordshire was held by Midlands Psychology between October 2010 and September 2019 while Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provided a separate Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

The report includes a series of recommendations including:

  1. Stronger governance processes
  2. Better management of legacy records  
  3. More robust service specifications
  4. Greater clarify on roles and responsibilities of contract management
  5. More integrated working and positive working relationships between providers
  6. Introducing a more strategic pipeline for future procurements
  7. Improved processes for dealing with challenges and complaints from service users
  8. Greater awareness of the procurement regulations relating to interim contract awards

This week the Governing Body of South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG will review the report alongside an action plan detailing how the local health system can learn from the findings as well as further improve access to services.

In May this year Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was awarded a new permanent contract to provide services for children and young people with autism, aged between the ages of 0 and 25.

The contract also includes a 30 per cent increase in investment from the CCG to promote integration with other services such as learning disabilities and mental health services as well as support staff recruitment.

A recovery plan was agreed in June which set out a trajectory to achieve 12-week waits for all children and young people to have received an assessment by the end of November 2020. The Trust is currently on track to achieve the trajectory. 

For a copy of the report, please email england.midlandscomms@nhs.net