We are pleased to announce Sharon Marsden, our Autism Development Worker has been accepted on the National Autistic Society Awards and Beacon Status Panel. 

Sharon has shared her journey of how she was accepted on the panel, what the purpose of the panel is and how it will help Aspire.  

“I was first approached by our Accreditation advisor Rachel Gittens to apply to be part of the ‘awards and beacon status panel’. Rachel said to me “given your experience and commitment to making a difference I think you would be a great asset to the panel.” 

I completed the application online outlining what experience I had with autism and what I could bring to the panel. They asked me to outline my experience of working in the field of autism (this needed to be at least 5 years at senior level), what academic qualifications I had related to autism, what conferences/presentations I had been involved with and a description of my involvement in the Accreditation.  

Rachel contacted me to inform me I was successfully accepted as being a member of the panel and informed me that I was the only one accepted from adult services or non-specialised services. 

The purpose of the panel plays an important role in quality checking the work of Accreditation and providing independent scrutiny and carries out the following rules: – 

Appeals – to decide whether the said organisation upholds appeals against Committee decisions. 

Moderation – to moderate a sample of Committee decisions where no appeal has been lodged. 

Beacon status – to consider applications for Beacon Status.  

This is a great opportunity to network with a wider community of professionals and people with autism, their services and knowledge. 

It will give Aspire an insight to what other services are doing/applying for and ideas for ways to improve our own accredited services, what constitutes best practice in autism as well as greater understanding of services the Accreditation do.  

I attended my first panel on 26th April 2023, and it was great! Prior to the meeting I had to read MANY documents, that supported the services evidence, then complete a mini report of my thoughts.  

I met with 5 other team members and two people who oversee the meetings.  

We discussed 3 services and after reading all the reports of evidence and submitting individual reports, we had to discuss further whether we agreed the decision for the services to be awarded either accredited/advanced or beacon status. After our discussions it was put to a vote and then unanimously agreed. 

It was great to be a part of, I feel very part of the team and know my comments are listened to and my experience is valued.  

I will keep you all up to date with how my next panel goes and share my experience with you all! 

Categories: Autism

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