Scope of the Green Light Toolkit

This page explains what is covered by the Green Light Toolkit – the people and the services that are under discussion.


We were asked to focus on mental health services in England. The page explaining how the Green Light Toolkit fits in with other initiatives pays most attention to Government policy and guidance for England, but the rest of the material can be used in the other countries of the United Kingdom and elsewhere.


The Toolkit is applicable to all ages, but detailed work on particular issues that relate only to children or older adults has not been attempted. Some useful material has been drawn upon that relates to inpatient mental health care for children and young people.

Equal Access

Both the legal framework and policy context makes it clear that all citizens have an equal right to gain access to, and benefit from, mental health services. All mental health services must presume that autistic people and people with learning disabilities will want to use their services and make arrangements in advance to treat them well. This is true whether services are provided by the NHS, the local Council or the voluntary and independent sector.

Mental Health Services

This Toolkit pays most attention to the adjustments that mental health services can make. We also acknowledge that other specialist and universal services need to offer expertise and support too. For example, both primary care and social care can benefit from considering how the questions asked in the survey might affect their work. Assessments carried out by health staff sometimes reveals other health needs too, so people with learning disabilities and autistic people need to be well supported in all parts of the NHS, not just psychiatry.

Learning Disability and Autism Services

This Toolkit helps a mental health service develop its competence in responding to autistic people and people with learning disabilities. As well as this happening, it is important that specialist learning disability and autism services respond effectively to people’s mental health needs. Improving specialist learning disability and autism services is not the focus of the Green Light Toolkit, although these services may find much in it that is worthy of consideration. 

Mental Capacity

Citizens have a right to access mental health services and receive competent mental health care whether or not they have mental capacity.


This Toolkit aims to improve access to mental health care for three groups of people – autistic people, people with learning disabilities and autistic people with learning disabilities. It briefly acknowledges that people living with other kinds of neurodiversity, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia or Tourette’s Syndrome may need mental health care too, they may also be autistic and/or have learning disabilities. Because the approach taken by the Green Light Toolkit is based on human rights and access to reasonable adjustments, it is applicable to all.

Floor Standards

The minimum level of care for all citizens, including people with learning disabilities and autistic people includes things like compassion, dignity, respect and freedom from abuse. Getting these floor standards right is a good starting point for any service. Rather than repeating these generic floor standards, the Green Light Toolkit moves straight into the extra work that is needed to ensure that autistic people and people with learning disabilities can benefit from a respectful and competent mental health service.