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New review to boost employment prospects of autistic people

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead Burton

A new review designed to boost the employment prospects of autistic people has been launched by the Government to spread opportunity, close the employment gap and grow the economy.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, has appointed Sir Robert Buckland KC MP to lead the review, which will consider how the Government can work with employers to help more autistic people realise their potential and get into work.

People with autism have particularly low employment rates – with fewer than three in 10 in work – but the Buckland Review of Autism Employment, supported by charity Autistica and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is aiming to change that.

The Review will ask businesses, employment organisations, specialist support groups and autistic people to help identify the barriers to securing and retaining work and progressing with their careers.

The Buckland Review of Autism Employment will consider issues including:

  • how employers identify and better support autistic staff already in their workforce;
  • what more could be done to prepare autistic people effectively for beginning or returning to a career;
  • and working practices or initiatives to reduce stigma and improve the productivity of autistic employees.

It will focus specifically on autistic people, and aim to develop solutions that:

  • will be acceptable to autistic people.
  • will be effective at improving autistic people’s outcomes.
  • will be feasible for employers or public services to deliver.

The Review will also look at employers who are benefitting from a neurodiverse workforce, like London manufacturer KwickScreen. The innovative company provides transparent screens to every UK hospital and played a pivotal role in the NHS’s response to the Covid pandemic.

On a recent visit to their Lewisham base, the Minister and Sir Robert discovered many of the breakthrough initiatives in the company came from the neurodiverse members of the team.

As part of the review, many of the adjustments and initiatives that would benefit autistic people could also benefit a wider group of people who think differently, including those with other neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

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