A People’s Parliament is one way of not only ensuring civic engagement of autistic people and people with learning disabilities, it also enables people to co-develop local policy and push for improvements in professional practice.

The Learning Disability and Autism People’s Parliament is made up of local people who have relevant lived experience. As the Parliament covers various topics in a year, we work with people with a range of experiences to match the subjects we are focusing on. The Parliament has formal links to the Health and Wellbeing Board. It is located in the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, just outside of Birmingham. 

Key areas for the Parliament in 2020-2021

Autism Strategy

In 2019 we worked with over 100 local people, 85 of whom were autistic, to coproduce Sandwell’s first autism strategy. We will continue to work with autistic people and Sandwell Council to put this strategy into action.

To get started, we will launch two community based projects led by autistic people. Autistic people themselves will use their own experience to improve awareness, understanding and acceptance of autism and encourage positive changes in our towns to make Sandwell more autism friendly.

Transforming Care

Transforming Care is the name the NHS gives to the programme of work which focuses on autistic people and people with learning disabilities who are trapped in hospital settings around England. A hospital is not a home and people should not be living in hospitals but there are still on average around 2200-2400 people across the country trapped in hospitals. Later in 2020 the Parliament is looking at the experiences of Sandwell residents who may end up in hospital.

Postural Care

Having good posture is important for us all but for disabled people who struggle to move their bodies they often find themselves in positions which distort their body shape and this leads to health difficulties, and in extreme cases death. The Parliament is looking at this topic in relation to people’s lives in Sandwell.

A Changing Places toilet campaign 

A Changing Places toilet is a large toilet with hoists. Many people with complex physical disabilities can’t use standard accessible toilets and this means they can’t go out of their home for very long periods of time as there will be no toilet for them to use. Having a Changing Places toilet is a life line for these individuals as it enables them to access the community and lead an ordinary life. In response to local need from both disabled people and families, the Parliament is developing a Changing Places campaign.