A lesson in simplicity from Autism Service Quality

  The new Care Bill places responsibilities on local authorities to develop services that are more personalised ensuring that adults and carers get better care and support that works for them. People struggle to find information and support which suits their individual circumstances. When I was asked by Gary Beckwith  to comment on his new website I was impressed by the simple functionality, user experience and design.

As Paul Taylor commented:

Here Gary talks about his hopes for Autism Service Quality

I’ve worked in services supporting people on the autism spectrum for the last 20 years. When I left my role as an Advisor for Autism Accreditation I wanted to find out ‘what mattered most’ to the autism community and in doing so I started to develop the Autism Service Quality website. The idea has grown beyond a simple gathering of information, into creating a website that promotes and communicates an autism community ‘Voice’. The website is designed to assist people with autism to make informed choices about the services which will enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives. I have also been working with a local charity called Autism Bedfordshire who have provided lots of feedback as the website has developed.

In defining service quality, we suggest that it is “the amount of confidence a customer or consumer has in a service meeting their requirements”.

There are an estimated 700,000 people with autism in the UK. If we include parents, carers and supporting professionals as part of the autism community, then the number of people affected by autism rises considerably. If you’re not on the autism spectrum yourself, you probably know someone that is.

Awareness of autism is greater than ever and increasingly services are making adjustments which recognise that people have different needs. For example relaxed performances are specifically designed to welcome people with a learning disability, Down’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Condition or sensory and communication disorders.  There is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement and some small changes made to the light and sound effects

I believe in social engagement; where service providers are open and transparent in their dealings with consumers. When eBay introduced its feedback system back in the mid 1990’s it revolutionised the relationship between ‘Buyers’ and ‘Sellers’. Feedback of this kind promoted empowerment and confidence in Buyers when making choices from who to buy from, and boosted Seller success:

“As of November 13, 2008, Jack Sheng was the first eBay seller to receive a Feedback score of one million. He currently has a score of over two million. It took Sheng eight years to earn a Feedback score of one million, but it only took him 18 months thereafter to reach two million.”

(Source: http://mashable.com/2010/08/07/ebay-facts/)

Is it time for more complex service encounters to receive the same level of scrutiny – particularly for a section of society with social and communication difficulties? Autism Service Quality has been designed to ask one question “What Matters Most?” when using any type of service.

The website was launched in December 2013 and we are now asking a range of service providers in the UK to register and share their profile page with the autism community to learn “What Matters Most”. Services can learn a lot from the rich and diverse autism community.

If you provide a service in the following areas we would like to invite you to test the website:

  • Social Work Teams
  • Healthcare departments and GPs
  • Schools and Adult Education
  • Housing and accommodation services
  • Training providers
  • Employers and employment support
  • Service brokers
  • Therapeutic and wellbeing services
  • Cafés, cinemas, leisure centres, theatres, mobile hairdressers and music tutors!

Please contact info@asquality.org if you would like to discuss partnering with Autism Service Quality

Gary Beckwith MCQI CQP  @AutismSQ

Director, Autism Service Quality

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