Cameron welcomes completion of committee stage on Autism Bill

South Antrim MLA and sponsor of the Autism Private Members Bill, Pam Cameron, has welcomed the completion of the Committee Stage of her Bill at the sitting of the Health Committee on Thursday 13th January. The draft Report on this Bill was agreed by the Committee and it now progresses to the 'Consideration Stage' within the legislative process.

By Pam Cameron MLA

South Antrim

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Speaking after the committee meeting, Mrs Cameron said

"I am delighted that the Autism (Amendment) Bill has passed through the Health Committee, and will soon be debated in the Assembly again.

The Autism (Amendment) Bill aims to build on and strengthen the Autism Act 2011, the first Autism legislation in Northern Ireland brought forward by the All-Party Group on Autism and of course Dominic Bradley MLA. My Bill aims to build on this previous work to enhance the Autism Strategy, improve consultation and data collection, improve training, improve access to support and services, so those in need will have access to support regardless of their age or the presence of a diagnosis. It will also importantly appoint an “Autism Reviewer” to ensure the needs of autistic people are addressed by Government Departments and services.

I want to thank the Health Committee and all of those who gave evidence throughout the intensive Committee Stage process for their work in helping to scrutinise and strengthen this Bill to ensure we bring about much needed reform. I also want to thank the All-Party Group on Autism and the secretariat, Autism NI, for all of their support so far.

This Bill will help bring about real practical change for autistic people and their families. I am looking forward to continuing to work with colleagues to bring about this progress, and hope the Health Committee amendments proposed to further strengthen this Bill will receive the support needed in the next stage."

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