Autism Central
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Autism Central Terms of Service for Families, Carers and Personal Assistants

Your Autism Central South West Region hub is: 

Bristol Autism Support

If you are the parent or carer of an autistic child (diagnosed or suspected) please ring our helpline on 07835727394 or email helpline@bristolautismsupport.org

If you have a different enquiry, you may email us on enquiries@bristolautismsupport.org 

Our postal address:

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle
Bristol
BS4 1NL

About Autism Central 

Autism Central is a peer education programme for parents and carers of autistic people that is delivered via 7 regional hubs across the NHS regions of England.  We offer high-quality and easily accessible learning, information and guidance developed by autistic people, parents and carers, with the aid of a dedicated website and learning management system.  

To find out more about Autism Central please visit: 

https://www.autismcentral.org.uk/about-us

https://www.autismcentral.org.uk/faqs

https://www.autismcentral.org.uk/resources

Survey completion 

It’s essential for Autism Central to receive feedback from parents, carers and personal assistants as this informs the development and growth of the programme.  Completing evaluation surveys is crucial as they allow us to demonstrate the impact of the programme to our funders.  Survey QR codes will appear at the end of every group session and workshop and we encourage all participants to complete these as we want to hear what you think.  All surveys are anonymous and unidentifiable.   Some anonymised data may be shared with the programme funders – National Health Service (England), the Autism Central governance steering group and programme team.

Quality observations 

To ensure the continued quality and development of Autism Central, we will at times allow observers to participate in sessions.  Observations are necessary to see how the programme is being delivered, highlight good practice which can be shared and identify issues so solutions can be created.  The observers will be from Autistica who quality assure the Autism Central programme.  All visits will be conducted by fieldworkers with lived experience of autism. All information gathered will remain anonymous and unidentifiable.   Anonymised feedback may be quoted and used externally for publicising the benefits of the programme. The programme funders – National Health Service (England), the Autism Central governance steering group and programme team will have sight of this information as it will be used to inform programme development. 

Family Carers, Personal Assistants and PEs will be informed in advance that an observation will take place in their upcoming session.  A reminder will also take place at the start of the session.  If a participant does not wish to be observed, please make themselves known to the peer educator that they do not consent to an observation.  They will need to leave the session before it starts.  All family carers, personal assistants and PEs consent to the observation by participating and remaining in the session.   

Conduct and expectations 

The role of the peer educator is to share knowledge, learning and experience and make access to information, advice and guidance more accessible to participants.   

It’s important families, carers and personal assistants understand that the workshops, groups and 1:1 session’s are not the same as: 

  • Counselling 
  • Key working or case working 
  • Support from an advisor 
  • Support from a social worker 
  • Talking with a friend 

Appropriate boundaries are used to help participants understand the purpose of the service offer, so it can use the service for its intended purpose and become educated and informed about autism and the support and services available.  

Autism Central peer educators will: 

  • Be friendly, kind and courteous at all times 
  • Be professional and set clear, appropriate boundaries 
  • Stay within the law and abide by policies 
  • Maintain a non-judgemental attitude, whilst respecting the values, choices and beliefs of families 
  • Seek support and guidance when needed for ourselves and others 
  • Learn from experience  
  • Work in a sensitive way with families to challenge prejudice or ignorance about autism  

Autism Central peer educators will not: 

  • Directly or indirectly abuse, neglect, harm or exploit others in any way 
  • Abuse the trust of individuals or access to personal information about them, or to their property, home or workplace 
  • Develop inappropriate personal relationships with individuals who are participating in the Autism Central programme.  This includes not actively forming new friendships with participants, either face to face or on social media channels and also relates to romantic and/or sexual relationships
  • Be dishonest or use deception in order to gain advantage 
  • Discriminate against individuals 
  • Condone or participate in any illegal, unsafe or abusive behaviour  
  • Be judgemental and impose our own values and beliefs on families 

Peer educators are accountable for the way they work. They have a duty to keep others and themselves safe. This is achieved by maintaining a respectful, caring and professional approach to work, by conducting themselves in a way that demonstrates integrity, maturity and good judgement and upholding the values of Autism Central. 

Parents, carers and personal assistants will be asked to adhere to certain behaviours when attending all sessions.  These include:  

  • Respecting the confidentiality of other participants  
  • Understanding that everyone should have space to contribute and speak 
  • Use language that is respectful and supportive 
  • Use identity first language (autistic people not people with autism) 
  • Are respectful in their questions or comments 
  • Respecting different communication preferences.  For example, in online sessions some people may prefer to speak with a video on, whilst others may prefer the chat feature with no video 
  • Understanding that interruptions may occur.  This is more common when taking part in online sessions 
  • Being punctual 

Safeguarding 

All peer educators have a duty to report all safeguarding incidents and concerns, however minor to their hub designated safeguarding lead or safeguarding manager.  Examples of these may include situations where a peer educator is concerned for the wellbeing or welfare of a participant, or has been made aware of a concern for the wellbeing or welfare of other adults or children who are not participating in Autism Central.  All hubs follow an internal safeguarding process which is outlined in their safeguarding policy.  

Each hub supplies Autism Central with anonymised monthly monitoring which records the number of concerns and incidents raised alongside the anonymised theme of the concern.   

In a situation where a safeguarding concern is raised we may be required to escalate the concern to a relevant emergency service or adults / children’s services.  Any information sharing would be necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure. A record would be kept of what has been shared, with whom and for what purpose and the reasoning behind it.

As the Regional Hub delivering the Autism Central Peer Education Programme in the South West.  In a situation where a safeguarding concern has been raised –  Autism Central may ask for personal data to be shared so Autism Central can be satisfied appropriate actions and resolutions have been concluded.  Any information sharing would be necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure. A record would be kept of what has been shared, with whom and for what purpose and the reasoning behind it.

Our Safeguarding lead is Louise Mills, our Trustee supporting Safeguarding is Jane Walton. If you require further information on Safeguarding or a copy of our current safeguarding policy please contact Louise@bristolautismsupport.org

Products and services 

Hubs recruit, train, induct, support and manage a network of peer educators across their regions and coordinate the delivery of:  

  • Group sessions for parents, carers and personal assistants – These are structured or unstructured education workshops/sessions (dependent on the hub requirements) facilitated by Peer Educators. The groups may focus on: 
    • various topics around understanding and learning more about autism and how to support autistic people 
    • learning how to navigate support and services and understand rights and entitlements 
    • accessing support and help locally 
    • signposting to further learning and resources available on the website. 
  • One to one wrap-around sessions for parents/carers – Peer educators can run one-to-one sessions for parents or carers with a particular focus on: 
    • those who need individual time or specific help 
    • underrepresented groups – those who have additional barriers to accessing education and support.  
  • Group information and training sessions delivered to Personal Assistants working with Autistic people: 
    • These are 2 hours group information/training sessions to upskill PAs in autism and how to support autistic people  
  • Autism Central Web Portal and Learning Management System (LMS)  
    • All regional hubs have access to national co-produced peer educator training materials and resources. This ensures all peer educators across the country are trained with the same consistent approach. 
    • The Autism Central website www.autismcentral.org.uk allows parents and carers to access information about autism and available support in a single place, so you can easily find what you need. 
    • Here you can access content directly when there may be barriers to you being able to attend group sessions delivered by hubs. Peer Educators may signpost you to content for additional learning, or the content may back up and refresh what you have learned from attending a Peer Educator group or 121 session or be used as pre-learning before attending a session. 

Confidentiality/privacy 

You can access our privacy policy here.

In a situation where a concern has been raised where there is risk for material or reputational damage for the programme or the funder, Autism Central may ask for personal data to be shared so Autism Central can be satisfied appropriate actions and resolutions have been concluded.   

Data protection 

Your data protection rights

Under data protection law, you have rights including:

  • Your right of access – You have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information.
  • Your right to rectification – You have the right to ask us to rectify personal information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete.
  • Your right to erasure – You have the right to ask us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to restriction of processing – You have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your personal information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to object to processing – You have the the right to object to the processing of your personal information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to data portability – You have the right to ask that we transfer the personal information you gave us to another organisation, or to you, in certain circumstances.

You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you.

Please contact us at enquiries@bristolautismsupport.org if you wish to make a request or for further information on data protection.

For more information on data protection see our privacy policy.

Feedback and suggestions 

Your views are important to us.  We welcome and value any feedback or suggestions that may help to improve the Autism Central programme.  A simple idea can sometimes make all the difference.  We also want to hear if you have any concerns.  You can either contact the hub direct or the programme team on the following links below. 

South West hub – autismcentralsw@bristolautismsupport.org

https://www.autismcentral.org.uk/contact-us

If you have a complaint you can see our complaints policy here.

Whistleblowing  

It is important that any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing by staff or others working on behalf of the charity is reported and properly dealt with. All individuals must raise any concerns that they may have about the conduct of others in the charity or the way in which the organisation is run. This sets out the way in which individuals may raise any concerns that they have and how those concerns will be dealt with. 

In the first instance, any concerns should be raised with the Bristol Autism Support Team who will arrange an investigation of the matter.  If you are concerned that the team is involved in the wrongdoing, has failed to make a proper investigation, or has failed to report the outcome of the investigations to the relevant person, you should escalate the matter to the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

If you reasonably believe that the appropriate action has not been taken, you should then report the matter to the relevant body. This includes: 

  • HM Revenue & Customs 
  • The Health and Safety Executive 
  • The Environment Agency 
  • The Serious Fraud Office 
  • The Charity Commission 
  • The Pensions Regulator 
  • The Information Commissioner 
  • The Financial Conduct Authority 
  • The Competition and Markets Authority 
  • The Independent Office for Police Conduct 

If you decide to blow the whistle to a prescribed person rather than your employer, you must make sure that you’ve chosen the correct person or body for your issue. 

You can find the more information on reporting malpractice: Whistleblowing: list of prescribed people and bodies – GOV.UK  

The full list of prescribed persons for The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/496899/BIS-16-79-blowing-the-whistle-to-a-prescribed-person.pdf