It is now over a year since SEND Services in Suffolk were inspected and while we have been working very hard across education, health and care services to make improvements for the long term, we realise that we have not been very good at sharing regular updates with people who need to know about the improvements. We have a SEND Programme Board that is leading the changes we are making and so we have agreed that we will improve our communications by sharing an update after each monthly board meeting to help keep our service users and partners fully informed. This is the first update.
Transferring Statements to Education Health and Care Plans – families will be aware that as part of the SEND Reforms we were required to transfer all existing statements into Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP). A year ago, inspectors identified that we were a long way behind in completing this task and that we weren’t involving families in the right way. In March 2017 we still had 1650 statements to transfer. Since then we have worked really hard to turn this around and work much more closely with families on the transfer process. We are pleased to report that at the end of February there were only 168 statements left to transfer and the majority of these are in the process of being finalised. We have asked families involved in the more recent transfers for feedback on their experiences and we have received positive comments. We will however, continue to work with families to improve their experience further while we finalise the remaining plans. This work has affected the speed at which we have been able to finalise some of the new EHC plans requested and it is now our priority to improve the timeliness of new plans.
Education, Health and Care Hub – to improve our service offer to families during the development of new education health and care plans, we are introducing a digital EHC Hub. We have been working with a specialist software company to develop this new piece of software since early 2017 and we have recently begun trials with six families to test the system – thank you to them for helping us with this. We are facing some technical challenges currently which the software provider needs to resolve before we can extend the pilot phase. We hope this will be possible during 2018, as we do not want to introduce a new system until it works well. Once the new system is fully tested it will be offered to all those requesting a new plan. The new system will make the process more transparent and speed up communication.
Response to the recent Suffolk Parent Carer Network Survey – Thank you to all families who took the time to complete the SPCN survey last autumn. It has provided us with very useful information about what we need to do to improve. It is as a result of this that we have introduced these monthly updates.
The SEND Programme Board