AN autism support service in the Borders has shown enough improvement towards the end of last year to satisfy both health and social work bosses.

The Border Telegraph revealed last August how major failings had been identified at Autism Initiatives

And how a task force from the Scottish Borders Learning Disability Service had been drafted in to sort out the problems.

Autism Initiatives supports five residents at its Longnewton premises near St Boswells.

It also offers outreach support and care in the community to adults with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism from its offices in Galashiels.

But during unannounced visits by the watchdog body last summer inspectors found 'a clear lack of effective management, oversight and audit systems' as well as 'low morale' and staff who felt 'unsafe'.

Inspectors spent a total of five days monitoring the service and drawing up a lengthy list of failings.

They branded the quality of care as 'weak', as well as the standard of staffing and the quality of management and leadership.

The report stated: "We identified a serious concern during our inspection that we considered the service needed to take action on immediately.

"We brought this matter to the attention of the service immediately, and through a letter outlining our concerns detailing the action we needed them to take."

A total of 13 immediate improvement requirements were presented to Autism Initiatives.

And staff from Scottish Borders Learning Disability Service were brought in to help improve the quality of care for service users.

The Care Inspectorate descended on the struggling service again for three days just before Christmas.

They found that eight of the requirements had eventually been met, although none had been completed with thin the required timescales.

They also found that five of the requirements still haven't been met, including updating personal plans for service users, creating an epilepsy support plan, making staff aware of adult protection guidelines and performing medical treatment assessments for all new service users.

Despite the shortcomings, social care bosses in the Borders told us they are pleased with the progress.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders told the Border Telegraph: “We continue to work closely with Autism Initiatives to support them in addressing the improvement measures required by the Care Inspectorate.

"Although these have yet to be met in full, we are pleased with the commitment the organisation is showing toward their fulfilment.

“An action plan is in place and clear progress is being made towards its delivery.

"In the meantime, the Joint Learning Disability service continues to monitor progress and provide support.”