3 Autism Network Scotland
3.1 This chapter describes the organisational arrangements, the objectives, and the activities of Autism Network Scotland.
Current hosting, staffing and financial arrangements
3.2 The network is hosted by the University of Strathclyde (within the School of Education) and funded by a grant from the Scottish Government. As of January 2016 it has eight members of staff: a lead coordinator,  a network coordinator, a project manager, three advisers, and two administrative / communications staff. As of January 2016, the amount of the Scottish Government grant is equivalent to £420k per annum. [7,8]
Objectives for Autism Network Scotland 2012-2014
3.3 From 2012-2014 the main objectives (also referred to in grant award letters as 'expected outcomes') for ANS as set out in the Scottish Government grant award letters were to:
- develop ANS to deliver outcomes for professionals, individuals with autism, their families and carers
- provide an information hub on autism
- support networks and deliver good practice events.
Objectives for Autism Network Scotland 2014-present
3.4 In 2014, when the governance arrangements for the Scottish Strategy for Autism were refreshed and restructured, the objectives of ANS were extended. The current set of main objectives ('expected outcomes') for ANS as set out in the most recent Scottish Government grant award letter (October 2015) are to:
- deliver a hub of professional autism support including information, signposting, networks, best practice and communication
- support implementation of autism action plans across Scotland through the National Coordination Project
- provide support to the Scottish Strategy for Autism ('the expanded role')  .
3.5 The expanded role in relation to the Scottish Strategy for Autism (as set out in the grant funding letter of October 2015) covers:
- provision of a complete secretariat service to the Governance, Working, Communication / consultation, and Ad Hoc Expert Groups and those people who have requested to receive 'info only'
- facilitation of the above mentioned meetings
- engagement of people with autism and their families in the decision making process and the work of groups through dissemination of information, events, forums etc.
- develop and manage the Scottish Strategy for Autism website
- organise and deliver events to take forward the working group outputs
- ANS members to sit on the working groups and
- provide support (including communications function) to the Autism Coordination team. 
3.6 The aims of ANS as described on their website reflect the objectives as set out by the Scottish Government. ANS in its own words aims to:
- be a hub of impartial and reliable information about autism services across Scotland
- identify gaps in service delivery and information to people with autism and their families and carers
- signpost professionals, people with autism and their families and carers, to the range of services available at both a local and national level
- facilitate professional networks across Scotland to support knowledge exchange and promote awareness of autism
- provide a platform to discuss current research and share good practice in the field of autism
- develop networking opportunities for people with autism
- support better communication between people with autism and local and central government and
- support the autism strategy through membership of the strategy subgroups and information sharing.
Activities of Autism Network Scotland
3.7 The activities of ANS are wide ranging and cover:
- organising and delivering conferences, roadshows, meetings and events
- establishing and maintaining networks
- supporting and developing the ANS website
- producing newsletters and events bulletins
- enquiries and signposting
- supporting the development of local autism strategies and plans and
- supporting the work of the Scottish Strategy for Autism Governance Group.
3.8 Further details of each of these activities are set out in Annex 1.
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