Implementing a guideline is about putting recommendations into practice. Evidence-based guidelines, such as the New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder Guideline, suggest the best way of doing things as supported by evidence. If we don’t implement the guidelines, and keep doing things the way they’re currently done, things are unlikely to improve.
The third edition of the Guideline was released on 21 November 2022:
Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People now lead the Guideline and the Living Guideline process, in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
Work programme for guideline implementation
Cabinet approved an implementation plan which gives ongoing funding to ASD services – including focusing existing service providers onto ASD services, and funding services which are shown to be effective from those currently being piloted.
$5 million is available annually for the implementation work programme.
Government funding is targeted toward guideline recommendations that need government involvement to succeed. Within this group, recommendations are prioritised to ensure funding goes where it can make the biggest difference.
Responsibility for guideline implementation
Each recommendation is different, and must be implemented in a different way. Therefore, responsibility for implementing recommendations sits with different people.
National activities are overseen by the Ministries of Health and Education and have been underway since the guideline was published. The Ministry of Education has focused its implementation effort on workforce development. Read more about this on the Ministry of Education website.
Not all of the recommendations in the guideline can be implemented by the government. Many of the recommendations relate to the way people behave with one another, and government funding cannot easily change this.
Why recommendations are not compulsory
Guidelines cannot replace the judgements people need to make when faced with individual circumstances. For this reason, making guideline recommendations compulsory could be unsafe. The recommendations do, however, influence the way ASD services are purchased by government and DHBs.