About the Local Offer

Local Offer - vision and strategy


The SEND Vision and Strategy was approved by the Council’s Executive in October 2016. It was co-produced with SNAP Parent Carer Forum (PCF), special school and specialist provision leaders, and professionals from education SEND services, health services, adult and children Social Care services. The delivery plan is overseen by the Support and Aspiration Board which has representatives from SNAP PCF and from all agencies on it. The board reports to the Children’s Leadership Board and provides updates on progress to Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

Shared Vision (Education, Health and Social Care) for Children and Young People (0 – 25) from Central Bedfordshire with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

All agencies will work with families to ensure that services are shaped and delivered to support children and young people with SEND in achieving the very best they can. Co-production of services with children, young people and their parents and carers will be at the heart of everything we do.


We want every child in Central Bedfordshire to enjoy their childhood and have the best possible start in life. We want every child to do well in education, make friends and build strong relationships with their family. As young adults, we want every young person to have the knowledge, skills and qualifications that will give them the best chance of success, so that they are prepared to take their full place in society as a healthy, happy, contributing and confident citizen.

Children and Young People’s Plan available on the First Hand website.

A clear shared Vision and delivery of a successful strategy across education, health and social care services will provide consistency of experience for families and give parents, children and young people confidence that Central Bedfordshire is a great place to live as their needs and aspirations will be met. It will attract, motivate and keep great staff who will work together to deliver our Vision.

Our shared Vision will deliver the principles of the Children and Families Act (2014), The Care Act (2014) and the Transforming Care Programme and should be read in conjunction with our Statutory Duties.



Co-production happens when service providers and service users recognise the benefits of working in true partnership with each other. This process is adopted ‘from the start’, when planning, developing, implementing or reviewing a service. It means that all the right people are around the table right from the beginning of an idea, and that they are involved equally to:

  • shape, design, develop, implement, and review services
  • make recommendations, plans, actions, and develop materials
  • work together right from the start of the process, through to the end

Consultation is not the same as co-production. A stage of consultation can be part of an overall co-production process. It usually occurs after the early stages of co-production have been completed.

The views of parents and carers are presented through Central Bedfordshire’s Parent Carer Forum - SNAP (the Special Needs Action Panel). This is the parent carer forum comprising a representative group of parent service users.

SNAP bring a valuable independent perspective and constructive challenge to the future planning of services. We recognise the high value of the information derived from the informal networks SNAP has developed with other parents.


Our vision is defined by 3 overarching principles

Co-production, working with parents/carers and young people to be a responsive service

Co-production will be the unifying principle for the design, implementation and monitoring of services. This embraces all those delivering and receiving both universal and specialist provision.

The skills, knowledge and experience of children and young people with SEND and their families will be fully drawn upon to shape services and ensure that the right services are developed and delivered consistently across Central Bedfordshire and in the most effective way.

Agencies will work together in a consistent and integrated way with families to support the child and family, and joined up services will be developed in the local area to ensure that children and young people’s needs are met locally.

Services of all types will grow and develop to reflect children and young people’s growth and development, and their changed needs over time.

Early intervention and high aspirations for all children and young people

Universal services such as early years settings, health visitors, schools, colleges, leisure centres and GPs will be equipped to identify and meet the majority of needs, ensuring the right support is in place at the right time for all those that need it.

We will enable young people to live healthy and fulfilling lives, supported by local universal services and accessible health and care services.

Children and young people will be encouraged to have aspirations and believe in what they can do and realise how much they can achieve.  Every child and young person will have the right support at the right time to achieve their aspirations.

Our starting point will always be a prejudice in favour of what children and young people can do rather than what they are unable to do.

Preparing for adulthood

Services will reflect the fact that children become adults, and will be flexible to reflect changes in education, health and care needs and work together to support children and young people and their families.

Transitions between different services across all education, health, and social care facilities will not be markedly felt by the child/young person or their family.

Children and young people are able to move easily between care and health services even where these are provided by different agencies.


We expect the following outcomes

  • children and young people, and their parents and carers will feel engaged in informing decisions about their support and the strategic commissioning of services
  • children and young people and their parents and carers will be involved in the process of assessing their needs
  • children and young people, and their parents or carers, will be clear about the identification and assessment processes and the criteria used to make decisions
  • we will know our strengths and weaknesses, and what we need to do further to improve the feedback from parents and carers and young people and their contribution to strategic planning
  • children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities will be identified early
  • we will be effective in accurately assessing and meeting the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • we will collectively improve outcomes for children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • all local agencies and bodies will plan and coordinate their work to assess need and provide necessary and effective support

Our strategy

Strategy for delivering a Shared Vision (Education, Health and Social Care) for Children and Young People (0 – 25) from Central Bedfordshire with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Our shared Vision will be delivered through the following 6 themes taking account of our duties as set out at the end of this document, our Joint Strategic needs Assessment (JSNA) and the ongoing co-development of a Local Offer with clear information for children, young people and their parents and carers with regard to SEND. The vast majority of needs will be met locally, most in the context of universal services that are inclusive and responsive.

Seamless identification of need; support and progression for children and young people

Early identification of needs and early intervention will be routine with the majority of needs met by universal services and early help services providing the right support at the right time.

Identification of needs will be made early by all agencies involved with children and young people, including health visitors, school nurses, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHs) link workers, GPs, early years settings, and schools.

Support will be provided that is closely matched to needs and capable of ready adjustment and modification in step with a child or young person’s development and changing needs.

Expertise in SEND in Central Bedfordshire will be further developed and drawn upon so that all providers have access to and share high quality practice.

School to school support for SEND will be further developed from identified best practice to build capacity and ensure that specialist skills and knowledge are available to individuals across the widest range of settings.

Outcomes will be carefully monitored and checked against the best national standards whatever the setting with consistently high expectations.

There will be integration of more specialist services such as special school nursing, CAMHS link workers, early support in localities to support universal services, children and young people and their families in improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

Universal services will have clear information on expectations of what they can provide, as well as pathways to more specialist support when needs cannot be met through universal services.

There will be earlier intervention in teenage years to enable sufficient time for the young person, and their parents/carers to be actively and meaningfully engaged in identifying the support and resources required to prepare for adulthood.

Developing the role of specialist services in extending capacity

Specialist services, identified best practice, and schools with specialist provision will be a resource contributing to improved capacity for early intervention through the improvement in knowledge and skills of providers of all types across Central Bedfordshire.

Where universal services cannot meet need, there will be clearly defined referral pathways to access specialist support services and the Early Help offer in a way that is as convenient and uncomplicated as possible in order to maximise outcomes for children and young people.

There will be a clear framework for the quality assurance of providers that gives confidence to families as well as commissioners that outcomes for children and young people will improve and there will be value for money.

There will be a clear role for special school nursing and therapy services to support children and young people with medical needs/conditions including training, support for education, health and care assessments and planning, and oversight of care for pupils, provision of emergency and crisis support, and safeguarding.

There will be assurance of the quality and participation of relevant health professionals in Educational Health Care Plans and support.

Regular analysis of needs will ensure capacity in special education services and provision, care provision (including Short Breaks), school nursing, including special school nursing, and therapy services to manage growing demand in terms of volume and complexity of need within a locality.

Specialist services will seek to co-locate where possible and where that is in the best interests of the child and family, and area services will develop their services to ensure a streamlined approach for children with SEND which promotes access to assessed services in a timely way.

Accommodation / Buildings

The range and scale of special educational, health and care provision in Central Bedfordshire will be planned on the basis of the most secure growth predictions and needs analysis achievable, and be flexible in meeting the needs of a growing population and changing trends in individual needs.

Accommodation will be well-matched to specific needs. It will have a particular focus on facilitating specialist work and promoting individual independence.

All new and remodelled SEND accommodation will be carefully matched to purpose, promoting learning and life skills and ensuring appropriate accommodation to support all agencies’ efficient and effective delivery of local services.

We will plan for school buildings to be accessible beyond the school day and across the year, allowing for multiple use by different agencies.

School buildings will ideally have the flexibility to quickly and efficiently be varied in their physical capacity while avoiding any compromise in the provision of specialist facilities.

Young people will be encouraged to develop independent living skills and have a home of their own where possible. They will be supported to find the most appropriate accommodation with the right level of flexible support to allow them to live as independently as possible.


The Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group have committed to working together to jointly commission services where this is possible. All joint commissioning activity will be based on the following principles:

  • children, young people and families will be involved in everything we do at all stages of the commissioning cycle
  • our processes will be transparent, fair, collaborative and consistent
  • we will use the funds available effectively to ensure better outcomes for children and young people with SEND and their families
  • we will maximise our efforts and resources at strategic and operational levels
  • we will prioritise our efforts to reduce inequalities and ensure those with the highest needs or likely to have the highest needs are properly supported
  • we will ensure that our commissioning decisions are properly justified and stand up to scrutiny. We will be willing and able to either stop doing things, or to do things differently, if we are not using our money effectively and improving outcomes for children, young people and their families
  • the council and other commissioning partners will plan and fund services jointly for children, young people and their families with SEN and disabilities, including those without a single Education Health and Care plans, and ensure services are available locally to meet needs

The Transforming Care Programme will drive a model of commissioning which has a strong emphasis on personalised care and support planning, personal budgets and personal health budgets.

Joint commissioning will allow the different partners who arrange and fund education, health and social care services to work together in order to deliver more positive outcomes for children and young people.

Working and arranging services together, across education, health and social care will help to deliver more personalised and integrated support resulting in better outcomes for children, young people and their families.

Joint commissioning will develop better services that support the earlier identification of need, removes barriers in providing the services needed and ensures that we know the impact of the services we deliver.

Regional Planning

Resources and their impact for children and young people will be maximised by the most effective regional strategic planning.

Central Bedfordshire in partnership with Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) will further develop its role as a leading provider of specialist services in education, health and social care in the context of shared planning across local authorities in the region.

Planning will be in partnership with local authorities in the region to build capacity most effectively, to avoid unnecessary duplication in provision and to increase choice for families.

Central Bedfordshire’s commissioned SEND Services, including schools, health and other educational providers, will be clear about their place and role in the context of an overall area strategy.

We will develop a workforce of skilled and experienced specialist staff and parents and develop their role as a powerful component in a regional and national offer.

There will be an integrated approach across Children’s and Adults services, across education, care and Healthcare services and across the region (through the wider health footprint) to enable people to move seamlessly between different services and forms of support.

Preparation for Adulthood

We will build on the co-produced Central Bedfordshire Preparing for Adulthood Strategy (14-25) which outlines a plan for how young people with SEND should be supported into adulthood, recognising the extra help that may need to develop their skills and abilities, and build their independence and access care and support as they move towards adulthood.

Young people will be encouraged to have aspirations and believe in what they can do and realise how much they can achieve.

Everyone who is involved in supporting young people as they approach adulthood will work together to have positive aspirations for them and support them in a way that helps young people to achieve their goals.

Young people and their parents/carers will have clear and accessible information about what to expect in the future as they move along the pathway and prepare to become an adult.

Young people will be enabled to live healthy and fulfilling lives in their community, by learning about opportunities for trying new activities and meeting new people, providing them and their families with appropriate information to make informed choices and being supported by local universal services.

We will support young people and their family/carers in a person-centred way to make sure their voices are heard and they are able to make decisions about their care and support.

From the age of 14 young people will be supported to consider options for training, volunteering or opportunities for paid employment. They will be encouraged to aim for the maximum achievable independence and including, where possible, meaningful engagement in the world of work. The Council will work with businesses and charities to provide better opportunities for paid work, training and volunteering.


The Children and Families Act (2014) placed a duty on Local Authorities to ensure integration between educational provision and training provision, health and social care provision.

Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) must make joint commissioning arrangements for education, health and care provision for children and young people with SEND, both with and without Education, Health and Care Plans.

The Care Act (2014) requires Local Authorities to ensure co-operation between children’s and adults’ services to plan for meeting the future needs of young people as they move into adulthood and become more independent, along with achieving continuity of support between services to enable young people to access timely and appropriate support.

The Equalities Act (2010) defines our equality duties and includes SEN and Disability.

In carrying out our functions in the Children and Families Act, all agencies must have regard to:

  • the views, wishes and feelings of children, their parents and young people
  • the importance of the child or young person and the child’s parents, participating as fully as possible in decisions, and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions
  • the need to support the child or young person, and the child’s parents, in order to facilitate the development of the child and young person and to help them achieve the best possible educational, health and broader outcomes, preparing them effectively for adulthood

Children and Families Act (2014)

Our shared Vision will deliver the principles of the Children and Families Act (2014) through:

  • the participation of children, their parents and young people in decision making
  • the early identification of children and young people’s needs and joined up early intervention across education, health (universal and specialist) early help and social care services as appropriate to need to support them
  • greater choice and control for young people and parents over support
  • collaboration between education, health and social care services to provide support, including development of jointly commissioned services
  • high quality provision to meet the needs of children and young people with SEN
  • a focus on inclusive practice and removing barriers to learning
  • successful preparation for adulthood, including independent living and employment (SEND Code of Practice, 2015, sections 1.1 and 1.2)

Transforming Care Programme (TCP)

The Transforming Care Programme (TCP) will support delivery of our vision and will have a significant impact on the planning and delivery of support services to children and young people with learning disabilities and /or autism, including those with mental health conditions.

The Transforming Care Programme (TCP) will develop and strengthen local service provision for children, young people and adults in:

  • health care
  • preventative services
  • advocacy
  • carer support universal welfare
  • education and training