Views wanted on reforms to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities service

Holding hands

People in Nottingham are being asked to give their views on changes to the way health, education and social care services work together to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Children and young people, families and practitioners are needed for a national study looking at the impact of parts of the new SEND reforms, which were implemented in the Children and Families Act in September 2014. These reforms require health, education and social care to plan and work together to meet the needs of children with SEND.

Nottingham City Council is one of 74 councils in England selected for the programme. The council will be part of work to measure the difference that the newly-introduced Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and personal budgets have made to the lives of children and young people with SEND.

The programme is being led by the charity In Control with Lancaster University, and is supported by the Department for Education. It will involve a new questionnaire known as the Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool (POET) to look at what’s working well and what’s not working with new EHC plans and also whether they have made a difference to children and young people’s lives. It will also be able to look at how many children and young people have personal budgets and their impact.

Children and young people, parents/carers and practitioners who have experience of the EHC assessment and planning process and EHC Plans are encouraged to take part to give their views and share their experiences. The results from this will be used to help improve what happens locally and will also be used on a national level to influence the implementation of the reforms.

Cllr David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Help and Early Intervention, said: “The Children and Families Act introduces the most wide-ranging reforms for children and young people with SEND and their families for 30 years. Services that were once delivered in isolation by different partners will now be much more joined-up to create a hub of support around our families. The new EHC plans and the right to request a personal budget are a key part of these reforms and it is critical that councils and CCGs work directly with families and practitioners to learn what’s working and what’s not in their delivery so they can make improvements and ensure they are making a real difference to people’s lives.”

To take part in the survey, please use the following links:

Professionals and practitioners: http://puttingpeoplefirst.limeask.com/index.php/854242/lang-en

Parents of children and young people who have an Education Health and Care Plan:  http://puttingpeoplefirst.limeask.com/index.php/884477/lang-en

Children and young people who have an Education Health and Care Plan:  http://puttingpeoplefirst.limeask.com/index.php/462748/lang-en

An EHC plan is for children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities and where an assessment of education, health and social care needs has been agreed. EHC plans replaced Statements of Special Educational Needs and Learning Disability Assessments from September 2014.

EHC plans are available from birth to age 25. The aim of the EHC plan is to coordinate services and support into one plan focused on meeting the support needs of that child or young person. A personal budget is the amount of money identified by the council and/or clinical commissioning group needed to deliver the support set out in the EHC plan and this may be given as a direct payment to the family or young person.

This is the third phase of the national pilot project: Stage one involved six council areas and a survey of 133 people; Stage two involved 18 councils and a survey of over 700 people. The results showed positive results about the impact that EHC Plans and personal budgets were having across a range of areas.

In Control is a national charity. Since 2003 it has been at the forefront of personalisation, pioneering the concept and practice of self-directed support. Its mission is to ensure that everyone has the support they need to live a good life and make a valued contribution. Further information can be found at www.in-control.org.uk

POET is a personal outcomes evaluation tool that has been developed over a number of years by In Control and the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University. It was initially developed for use in adult social care, and then in health.

The Department for Education initially funded In Control and Lancaster University to develop and test a children and young people’s POET through the National Prospectus Grants Programme 2013-2015.  The DfE has awarded In Control an additional grant to complete further work on the children and young people’s questionnaire and to test the tools in 50+ local areas during 2015.

Anyone wishing to find out more information about this work should contact Jonathan Allen, SEND Project Manager on poet@nottinghamcity.gov.uk.

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