Who am I?
I am passionate about delivering useful, relevant legal training for busy practitioners to support them in developing legally literate good practice in adult social care. I am trusted and valued by a lengthy list of local authorities to provide high quality, excellent value bespoke training to their staff which engages and empowers them as practitioners.
A subject expert with specialisms in adult social care and health law and in autism, my genuine commitment and enthusiasm for improving legal literacy and best practice in adult social care is evident to those attending my training. I am able to create a supportive learning atmosphere in which practitioners with a range of levels of experience feel confident to express themselves and have the space to develop their skills and reflect on their practice.
My training is very popular with staff because of the relevant content and support they receive in applying the law to practice. I am readily able to answer questions at all levels and give realistic examples to support participants in applying the law to the realities of practice.
In addition to my extensive experience in developing and delivering training for the public sector, I have a particular skill at explaining complex legal topics in an accessible and engaging way. I create and deliver training on all aspects of the Care Act; Adult Safeguarding law and practice from Safeguarding Enquiries to advanced legal options for complex case work; Mental Capacity law including CoP and BIA Refresher; DOLS and LPS; aspects of Mental Health Law including s.117 and nearest relative; Transitions; Human Rights and broad Legal Literacy training for Adult Social Care. I always deliver all legal training personally. Please see my current courses page for a more detailed list.
I also develop bespoke, practically-focused training on all aspects of autism. I specialise in advanced autism knowledge specifically for public sector professionals: social care staff, teachers, health staff at all levels. I bring together my extensive knowledge of autism and my familiarity with the social care, health and education sectors to support practitioners with practical knowledge such as: practical communication with autistic people across the spectrum; supporting autistic people to cope with change. Many of these courses are now delivered on my behalf by a small group of autistic trainers. I also offer specialist autism training specifically for social work (including Care Act and capacity assessment of autistic people & safeguarding autistic people.) I am also able to provide specialist courses in autism for educational settings.
I offer a consultancy service in both of my fields of expertise providing tailored support, research and specialist knowledge for a range of purposes. This includes change management consultancy within the public sector aimed at service improvement: around autism and/or improved compliance with legal frameworks. In the autism field, this included a successful and extensive change management project supporting an autism special school to become a Centre of Excellence, consultancy work and outreach with a range of mainstream schools across the area, local authority and health staff and a series of videos on practical autism topics for the Scottish Government. Recent work on the legal framework of social care has involved training for a variety of local authorities, including bespoke courses and advanced training on Safeguarding, the Care Act and in the area of Mental Capacity Law/DOLS/LPS. I am currently project managing a substantial project on Inclusive Governance on behalf of the National Autistic Taskforce (working in partnership with ARGH and AMASE) for Scottish Autism.
I am an experienced and well reviewed speaker and present regularly at both autism and public sector conferences:
I also publish regularly in my fields of interest including: My book, Social Work with Autistic People: A Guide to Essential Knowledge, Skills and the Law for Working with Children and Adults (Jessica Kingsley, 2020); ‘Safeguarding Liberty’ (Legal Commentary on the Liberty Protection Safeguards) in Community Living (2019); ‘Safeguarding autistic adults in England’, Autism and Intellectual Impairment Annual vol. 2 (2017), Pavilion Publishing; ‘Most autism practice not supported by good evidence, finds study’, Community Care (2017); Chapter on The impact of the Care Act for adults with autism and learning disabilities in England, in Autism and Intellectual Disability in Adults; Article on school improvement, formerly published on Network Autism (2015); Article on autism training for social workers in Community Care (2015); Chapter on educational policy in Handbook of Interpretive Methods in Educational Research, Springer (2015); Guest blogger on social care law and autism issues at Schwehr on Care and of course my blog here.
I am currently Strategic Lead of the National Autistic Taskforce, led the publication of the NAT Independent Guide to Quality Care for Autistic People (April 2019) and gave a plenary presentation at the NAT Forum 2021. I represent NAT on the Workforce for Autism Group England (WAGE) co-ordinated by Skills for Health/Skills for Care and was involved with the development of the Core Capabilities Framework for supporting autistic people. Prior to my involvement with NAT, I acted as legal and policy consultant for the National Autism Project and was the company secretary of Autscape for many years.
I provide a very limited specialist advocacy service to the autistic community and to advise other more general advocates.