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Under the Children and Families Act 2014, Local Authorities have a duty to consult and co-produce the Local Offer. The Suffolk Local Offer launched in September 2014 and since then we have been working with and gathering feedback from parents & carers, children & young people and professionals to ensure we are offering the right support.

Our feedback tool on the right side of the page allows you to easily feedback on the website and, services listed within our Local Offer. This allows us and our partners to be responsive to the needs of children, young people and their families. Visit the “Your Feedback – What happens next?” page for more information.

You can also email localoffer@suffolk.gov.uk to share your views.

Our response to your feedback

Latest updates

You said We did Feedback Received

If Health diagnosed quicker without having to fight, we could perhaps get refereed to the various services quicker'

More Sensory Integration Assessments and therapy

How do I get a Sensory Integration assessment funded?

Autism Diagnostic Services in Suffolk? What training have they got in diagnosing girls presenting with anxiety and depression?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

“The CCGs, Suffolk County Council and SPCN are together developing an action plan which involves reviewing services highlighted in the Ofsted inspection as needing to improve such as ASD diagnosis delays, Occupational Therapy services including CAMHS support for ASD. The development of this plan will enable us to identify where delays in the system are happening and the gaps in services for children with SEND. Everyone involved wants the necessary changes to happen so that the best outcomes can be achieved, and the involvement of parents and carers is integral to the success of this review. If you would like to be involved with the work that will be happening over the coming months and be kept informed, please send your contact details to wsccg.suffolksend@nhs.net or gywccg.SEND@nhs.net”

Sendiass Conference SEND Moving Forward

March 2017

Have Stanton CP school had the County Inclusion Support Service presentation?

All Suffolk schools have received 7 update letters re County Inclusion Support Service since June 2016 via Suffolk Headlines, Stanton Primary School would have received these letters. All Suffolk schools were also invited to information sessions re County Inclusion Support Service across the county. Stanton were invited but did not attend the twilight session in their locality. Schools can find out more about County Inclusion Support Service by contacting the member of County Inclusion Support Service staff that comes into their school or by leaving a message on 01787 468925 and a member of County Inclusion Support Service will get back to them.

Sendiass Conference SEND Moving Forward

March 2017

How does County Inclusion Support Service intend to define between higher and lower level of intervention if behaviour is not the main issue?

Behaviour will not be the sole criteria that defines whether or not a pupil is assessed at being at a core (extension) or core (foundation) level of County Inclusion Support Service provision. Staff from school and County Inclusion Support Service will look at how vulnerable the pupil’s placement is and this will guide the decision as to whether the pupil is core (extension) or core (foundation). A pupil’s placement can be vulnerable for a wide variety of reasons that are not always solely to do with behaviour, for example a pupil may be experiencing extremely high levels of anxiety and as a consequence be at risk of complete school refusal.

Sendiass Conference SEND Moving Forward

March 2017

How will County Inclusion Support Service service manage yo-yoing of those young people who might be on the cusp of higher lower tier?

County Inclusion Support Service staff will work closely with school staff, encouraging schools to communicate immediately with County Inclusion Support Service staff if that has been a significant change in how a pupil is presenting. Advice and guidance will be given if a pupil's needs increase and if both school and County Inclusion Support Service staff agree the pupil could move to a core (extension) level of provision.

Who makes the decision as to higher / lower support County Inclusion Support Service or school? If no behaviour issue but ASD why would entitlement lessen?

The decision about where a pupil is placed in terms of County Inclusion Support Service provision will be made jointly by County Inclusion Support Service and school staff, using the County Inclusion Support Service criteria re vulnerability of placement to guide decisions. Entitlement will not lessen for a pupil who has ASD but no behaviour issues. Entitlement to support will be linked to vulnerability of placement. A placement could be vulnerable due to high anxiety and school refusal.

Sendiass Conference SEND Moving Forward

March 2017

Currently it is very difficult in Suffolk to access high quality services, especially regarding mental health and SALT therapy.  This causes issues when you need support for a student within school as sometimes trying to get support can be extremely difficult.

The emphasis on emotional well- being in young people needs much more focus and resourcing, including strong preventative approaches eg: raised presence of Primary Mental Health Worker (PMHW) role in the primary sector.

In relation to mental health – The Emotional Health & Wellbeing Gateway is now live for families to access information. The Hub will go live for families to contact in new year.

 

Joint working arrangements established between Primary Mental Health Worker Team and County Inclusion Support Service Team PMHW worker lists for each locality shared with County Inclusion Support Service Health Q&A checklist to support local authority Q&A visits to independent schools developed and shared with teams.

Suffolk’s Special Education Needs & Disability (SEND) Strategy

 

May 2017

We desperately need more services for our SEND pupils. There are huge gaps in provision for pupils with behaviour difficulties, ASD FASD, Speech and Language at Key Stage 2 and above, SCC provision for Key Stage 3 and beyond…

 

GYWCCG have recently presented a paper regarding ASD to the GYW HOSC which has demonstrated significant improvements in the ASD Diagnostic pathway following a community paediatric service review. GYWCCG are also having their first parent carer forum regarding community paediatric services in the GYW area on 11 September 2017 and this forum will be key in ensuring co-production going forward of any services changes etc.

Would be good if professionals as such did work together

We actually need to work together as teams. Some of us endeavour to do this but this doesn't always seem to be the case for some of the teams we work closely with

How can Suffolk be claiming to be working in partnership when they let down so many of the people they are there to help? Nothing changes

It needs to be clear who is working together with families and communities? Should education and health be included in this vision.

On the whole yes, although I would like to see more emphasis on partnership - perhaps "Working in partnership with…" the client voices need to be acknowledged up front.

I think integration is particularly important for SEND children with complex needs as they cross over different sectors and have multidisciplinary and multi-agency involvement throughout their lives.

Good event, was glad I could make it.  Interesting to hear about new EHC ideas and looking into Local Offer and how to navigate.

Brilliant very helpful was shocked about the amount of great information in different areas. 5* Thank You

Found information received helpful and positive.  Look forward to receiving extra info via email, thanks.

Would have preferred presentation as advertised.

It was really lovely to see and speak to so many people who are hopefully going to make improvements after the recent Ofsted.  Changes need to be made as children and families' needs are not being met and as an SEN parent it’s a really hard and exhausting place to be.

Found this event very helpful. It has been great to gather information and learn new outcomes. Worth coming and found everyone very helpful. I hope all the new online improvements take hold and all changes look exciting.

Great to be able to access those people in the know directly

Has given me more confidence that my son is entitled to help - Just needed a bit of guidance to access it.

Thank you for holding this in Lowestoft. We do often feel a bit forgotten up here.

Children, young people, young adults should feel confident in their Local Offer and have a range of options and choice.

The current system does not have the resources available within education, health and social care to support their needs. There is a mismatch between what is needed and what is available which needs to be addressed.

I’m not completely sure what it means to identify through the Local Offer, but having access to services and support to achieve their aspiration is good.

The Local Offer should be advertised more so that families and young people with SEND know exactly what it is and how it can help to inform them to help achieve their full potential.

The Local Offer should be clear for all parents and carers. There should also be clear links to professionals in the voluntary and statutory sectors who can assist the parent, child or young person to access these services and access advocacy where needed.

Improving the Local Offer would be preferable to communicating it. No point in communicating something that doesn't work.

The Local Offer needs to explicitly show what is available. If you don’t know what is available or what it is called you don’t know what to look for.  I think we need a directory of services for specific areas of need. I also think that the above priorities should be and need to be delivered timely and not time limited.

As part of our response to the SEND inspection, the Inclusion Service has reorganised the way it works and now has a new management team in place.  The service is now organised into three separate aspects:

SEND Development and Delivery led by Georgina Green, includes all aspects of provider relationships and development of specialist provision; family services, including EHCPs, managed moves and alternative provision, assessment and pupil progress

Specialist Education Outreach Services led by Jan Welsh, bringing together all our specialist services that support settings including the County Inclusion Support Service, Dyslexia Outreach, Sensory & Communication Service and our Alternative Tuition.

SEND Strategy and Operations currently a vacancy for the lead, leading on strategy and policy for SEND, commissioning and contracting, high needs funding and finance, local offer communications and SEND data and intelligence. View.

Work has been extended to incorporate a full review of panel processes within SCC Inclusion Services, and in part with inform the funding consultation scheduled for Autumn.  Guidance to providers will now be published following consultation. However, the implementation date remains aligned to the opening of the multi-agency assessment centres.

There has been progress made in establishing the framework for key working practice in Suffolk across E, H & SC. The investment in front line staffing and key working will be at the heart of a reformed family key working team to oversee e, H & SC in the future.

SCC realise that it is important to meet with parents/carers face to face.  SCC held a number of engagement events across Suffolk and from this learning we will continue to meet with parents / carers at pre-arranged events / coffee mornings.  We are also going to be trialling a Webinar which we will be on specific SEN topics.  A Local Offer Newsletter is also in development stages.

SEND Training developed for Health Professionals. 156 staff trained

to date.

 

For parents / carers who are unable to find their way / navigate their way around the Local Offer website.  There is a Local Offer Navigator in post since August 2017 and dedicated phone line and a web chat facility to help and assist families in finding services within Suffolk.

Suffolk’s Special Education Needs & Disability (SEND) Strategy

 

May 2017

I think the first priority should be to ensure that the Local Offer meets the needs of children and young people and that provision is consistent across the whole of the county.  Families should not have to fight to get the provision their child needs. Our experience of the EHCP process has identified that this needs serious improvement.  There needs to be long term planning for provision across all stages of education, our experience has been one where there has been the correct specialist provision in the primary phase and nothing thereafter.

Online EHC Portal is in live testing and will be up and rolled out early 2018. An online system to enable families to take more control of their EHC Plan and increase transparency and improve timescales.

Suffolk’s Special Education Needs & Disability (SEND) Strategy

 

May 2017

I think the Local Offer is incredibly confusing: I think it would help to send of copy of it by email or such like to parents who have their children registered as disabled in the county.

Have only a vague idea that this is where we go to access appropriate support services for our family needs. Have not directly accessed any via this site. Have now bookmarked the website and will investigate further.

I have no idea what it means for my family.  This is where families who are not receiving support or input miss out and left to try and understand what it actually is and for me I have no clue.

A little confusing to use sometimes

There has been a Local Offer Navigator in post since August 2017, a dedicated phone line and a web chat facility to help and assist families in finding services within Suffolk. Full details are available here. You can also email localoffer@suffolk.gov.uk with any queries.

Activities Unlimited Customer Survey

 

Sept 2017

There needs to be updates and feedback opportunities for SENCO's, in order for provision to continue to improve, especially as it is likely that further changes/improvements are likely.  Maybe a SENCO forum could be set up so professional dialogue between schools and LA can take place with the aim of reflecting and improving provision.

The SENCO Newsletter was launched in October 2017 - 3 weekly information bulletins are now going out to all SENCO's in Suffolk schools providing updates and articles regarding current research. SENCO's are encouraged to give feedback and share good practice examples from their own schools with the ultimate aim being that the bulletin will be proactively owned and led by the SENCO's.

Professional 

Oct 2017

Identifying more precisely where the gaps are and a triage plan to fixing them would be useful.

We desperately need more services for our SEND pupils. There are huge gaps in provision for pupils with behaviour difficulties, ASD FASD, Speech and Language at Key Stage 2 and above, SCC provision for Key Stage 3 and beyond…

The key focus needs to be developing services and provision.

"A Stakeholder group has been established to agree and sign off education, health and care data sets, so this is a collection of information about current services and provision available which have informed the development of the SEND Sufficiency Plan. The plan will detail actions and priorities to enhance and develop provision and services."

 A data presentation delivered by the intelligence hub provided an initial evidence base for the projected demand of a range of needs. However, this will need to be combined with the health data and post 16 data before any firm conclusions can be made.

A strong focus is required on the developing of services available for students moving into adulthood. Students often struggle when services are reduced once turning 18.

Transitions/Moving into adulthood - good to include help and support the young person to become more independent. Appropriate career advice should be given by qualified professionals. All staff in mainstream schools are trained and accept SEN and don’t treat them differently which can lead to bullying.

Transitions from school to college are so important and this is an area which is really letting our students down.

Involvement and input from children, young people and young adults especially young adults with plans and parent’s views can be listened to over the young person at times.

Work is being undertaken to contact providers of 16-25 years old to ensure they have the same contact and communication process as all other providers. A consultation was held on a transition planning tool which included a workshop with stakeholders which included young people.  The group have committed to completing a test of the planning tool. Methodology for 'Training in Transition' has been written by workforce development, this will include training of SENCO's and Post 16 settings, Health, Social Care and Family Service Co-ordinators. Task & Finish arranged for November 2017 to develop and implement awareness raising campaign of LD checks for 14 - 25 year olds. GAP Mapping has been completed for specialist provision across Suffolk for 16 - 25 year old, from that this has been shared with providers for their response of proposals and ideas for development. Work is ongoing to develop best practice transition models for Post 16 learning to share with providers.

Suffolk’s Special Education Needs & Disability (SEND) Strategy Consultation

 

May 2017

Improving the early intervention and support as part of the Local Offer should be a priority.

Workshop was co-presented by Education, Health, SPCN and Senior Leaders from education, CCG and care were present, can commissioned health and education providers attended.

Outcomes:

  • Identified members of core assessment centre team
  • Identified possible reporting structure based on CDC model
  • Identified referral routes and some of the criteria for referral
  • Identified some of the functions
  • Flexibility of delivery

First workshop attended by health, education, and early help have identified ASD pathway to focus on initially with the County Inclusion Support Service service and early help attending monthly health ASD referral meeting.  This will reduce duplication and joining up three services.  Workshops have continued to develop the model.

Suffolk's SEND Strategy 2017-20

You said      We did

Developing a shared SEND strategy - Parent and carers and other stakeholders stressed the importance of working together to shape the vision, aim, objectives and priorities of the SEND strategy 2017-20. Strategy development workshops, led by the Suffolk Parent Carer Network (SPCN), led to the production of a draft in March 2017. In April all stakeholders were invited to comment on the draft strategy and an overview of the responses is available.

117 individuals, ranging from parents and carers to school and healthcare staff gave feedback on the draft strategy. Based on the feedback a number of changes were made, in particular:

  • Include the wording “full potential” in stating the aim for children and young people
  • A recognition that not all individuals can be independent and some will not reach adulthood
  • A clear action to improve the Local Offer website and communication with all stakeholders
  • An action to improve the EHCP process.

84% of respondents felt that the vision and aims were the right ones, but many questioned how all organisations involved were going to make sure outcomes were improving for children, young people and their families.

July 2017 - The SEND Programme Board has published the new SEND Strategy for 2017-20.

In addition, we have published a detailed action plan, which supports the strategy delivery. Further information is available on the Suffolk's SEND Strategy 2017 – 2020 page.

The new strategy and action plan have been co-produced with the Suffolk Parent Carer Network and they will continue ensure that the views of parents and carers remain central in all that we do.

Requests for information following the Suffolk Parent Carer Network November 2016 Survey

You said

We did

Membership of the monthly County Placement Panel                                               

The panel includes;

  • Head of Corporate Parenting (Chair)
  • Finance (Health)
  • Assistant Director for Social Work Services (Adult and Community Services)
  • Head of Inclusive Services (CYPS)
  • Central Resource Team Manager (CYPS)
  • Senior Special Needs Officer (CYPS)
  • Head of Virtual Schools (Education)
  • Programme Manager for Children and Young People and Maternity (GYWCCG)
  • Clinical Effectiveness Manager, Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups (Health, West and East) 
Membership of EHC Requests for Assessment panel; The panel includes;
  • Operational Lead SEN or Senior SNO
  • CEPS rep

 Plus an open invitation to;

  • Schools
  • Social Care
  • Health Representative is attending all the panel meetings
Membership of In Year Fair Access 
Panel (IYFAP)

The panel includes;

  • School leaders both secondary and primary phase
  • PRU head teachers
  • Primary mental health workers
  • Children and adolescent mental health service
  • Early Help
  • Social Care
  • Police
  • Youth Offending Service
  • Educational Psychology and Therapies service
  • Behaviour Support Service
  • County Inclusive Resource
Job and Personal Profile (JPP) for Special Needs Officer and Assistant Special Needs Officer roles                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Special Needs Officer JPP

Assistant Special Needs Offer JPP

Mental Health Practitioner

Mental Health Practitioner JPP

With timescales there is no sense of urgency, e.g. Transport 

On receipt of your completed form, your application will be processed and a request will be sent to passenger transport unit to arrange the child’s transport. The transport arrangements will take up to 10 working days. However, if additional information is required to complete the assessment you will be contacted by the Passenger Transport team and the assessment of your application may take longer.

Responses from 2016

2016 responses

You said

We did

Parents, carers, children and young people should be more involved with the development of the new website.

 

Included parent representation throughout the development of the new local offer website and provided links to the test website through our social media channels to gain feedback.

Information on Post 16 providers is not up to date.

We are in the process of updating these records, as part of the change over to the new local offer website.

This was an improvement however was still unclear whilst searching particularly if you were unaware of Access Unlimited or were directed to Suffolk Infolink first.

Worked with our partners to promote Access Unlimited as the home for the Suffolk Local Offer & tried to establish clearer links between the websites and where to find the correct information

Difficult to find information about the local authority’s transport policy

We have reviewed our website and launched a new platform. A separate Transport section which includes the Transport Policy has been created on the new site.

 

Not clear how to request an assessment for an Education, Health and Care plan

We have reviewed our website and launched a new platform. A separate page for Assessments and EHC Plans has been created on the new site, making information easier to find.

 

Searching for the Local Offer was still too confusing, with information being returned from too many websites.

Consulted with parents and purchased a new website URL - www.suffolklocaloffer.org.uk and began a plan to ensure all information is clear available in one place.

Responses from 2015

2015 responses

In July 2015 we worked in partnership with SENDIASS and Suffolk Parent Carer Network (SPCN) to produce our Local Offer Access to Information Survey. We wanted to find out how families were using the Local Offer to find the information and services available and whether they are able to do this successfully.

Read the full survey and results.

Following this, our development work continued;

You said

We did

The quality of certain information was poor / needed improvement

Conducted a full content review on the Access Unlimited website as we prepared to move this to the new website

That the information held on Access Unlimited was helpful however the directory of services is listed on another website.

We added a widget to the Access Unlimited website allowing you to search the database of services held within Suffolk Infolink

Searching doesn’t always display results

Amended the filters allowing you search more accurately and ensured services providers are listed under the correct categories.

We also added keywords provided by parents and carers to match up our key word search.

Difficult to find information about the eligibility criteria for the local authority specialist education service for deaf children, arrangements for referral and so on

We have amended the website so that individual records have a section to include their eligibility criteria. We have asked services already listed to update their records to include this.

Difficult to find information about specialist education provision for deaf children outside the local authority

We have links to our neighbouring local authority’s local offers on our website. Deaf provision outside Suffolk would not fall under our Local Offer. The SEN Team is happy to discuss local and national provision with you, either through your child’s Annual Review (if they have an EHC Plan) or by telephone. (SEN Team Link)

Lack of information on access to auxiliary aids and how these are provided

We have contacted our health colleagues and requested information is added to the local offer.

Unclear what families can do if they have a complaint or concern about provision

Please see this page which explains how parents/carers can raise concerns about education settings (https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/children-families-and-learning/schools/making-a-complaint-about-a-school/)

 

Lack of information on social care services for deaf children

A record has been created by our Sensory and Communication service.  If you have a specific question you can speak with an advisor from social care on the county council website.

No reference made to the National Deaf Children’s Society as a VCS body that provides support to deaf children and young people in your area

We have made contact with the National Deaf Children’s Society requesting a record is added to the site. We will continue to make contact until this is added.

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