Autism Scotland is working with a range of organisations to improve the way it works
A charity has embraced collaboration as it looks to achieve inclusive governance.
Scottish Autism has appointed a consortium of autistic–led organisations to develop its approach on achieving inclusive governance.
The appointed organisations are the National Autistic Taskforce (NAT), Autism Rights Group Highland (ARGH) and the Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh (AMASE). Together, they have a combined experience of over 20 years in the Scottish, UK and International autistic and wider disability communities. The core project team will also have access to the wider expertise of others connected to their organisations throughout the project.
Over the next year, the project team will engage with Scottish Autism’s supported individuals and their families, board of trustees, senior and wider leadership team, staff and the wider autistic community to develop an inclusive governance approach that will maximise participation amongst the charity’s key stakeholders.
NAT is a UK-wide organisation, established in 2018, which is focused on giving autistic people a stronger voice in the decisions and directions of their own lives, particularly those who are less able to advocate on their own behalf. NAT’s autistic directors have a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience, in social care, law, governance, research and disability rights. ARGH is a collective advocacy, lobbying and campaigning group of autistic adults based in the Highlands, working locally and nationally in Scotland and with international links. It promotes self-advocacy and its management committee and membership have a wide range of knowledge and experience in the fields of education, social care and mental health. Meanwhile AMASE aims to promote a better understanding of autism and encourage the growth of the autistic community through educational and community building activities.
Scottish Autism chief executive, Dorry McLaughlin, said: “We’re delighted to have the expertise of these highly respected autistic-led organisations as we aim to improve participation in our inclusive governance. We recognise the need to develop our approach to organisational governance and ensure the voices of autistic people we support through our services and those in the wider autism community across Scotland are heard, respected and included to help shape our strategy and service delivery.”
Yo Dunn, National Autistic Taskforce strategic lead, commented: “We are looking forward to working with two leading Scottish autistic peoples’ organisations on this ground-breaking project. Too often, autistic people have been ‘included’ only belatedly and in a tokenistic way within the wider autism world.
“We greatly respect Scottish Autism’s courage and vision in engaging professional autistic consultancy to support a root and branch review of how ‘inclusive governance’ can be realised, in a way which is genuinely co-productive, equal and respectful of autistic people’s rights.”
ARGH chair, Kabie Brook, said: “ARGH is delighted to be working with a consortium of autistic run organisations on this project, we hope that together we can guide Scottish Autism towards their goal of being more inclusive, more accountable and indeed directed by the autistic people that they support and the wider autistic community.”
Fergus Murray, chair of Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh, said: ”AMASE is pleased to be part of this exciting and innovative review, aimed at creating a system of inclusive governance that operates at all levels of decision making, informing and guiding Scottish Autism’s strategic and operational activities. We look forward to the principle of ‘nothing about us, without us’ being followed by every relevant organisation in future, and are excited by the opportunity to embed it throughout a leading national organisation on such a scale.”