Short breaks for children and young people with SEND consultation

About the short breaks consultation

Consultation closes: Thursday 10 November 2022
Consultation opened: Thursday 1 September 2022

We're proposing a new delivery model, using existing funding, for non-residential short breaks for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their families.

We have defined non-residential short breaks as all social, leisure and play activities that are organised by charities, us and other local groups.

This includes activities after school, at weekends and during school holidays ranging from 30 minutes to full days (not overnight).

The aim of the new model is to improve the range and geographical spread of options for families whilst maintaining a degree of funding stability for organisations. 

We currently provide grant funds to 6 organisations:

  • Autism Bedfordshire
  • Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society (BDCPS)
  • Families United Network (FUN)
  • Special Needs out of School Club (SNOOSC)
  • Leighton Buzzard Mencap
  • Bedford Mencap

We are proposing a grant funding process that will enable all relevant, local, organisations to bid for funding.

We believe these changes will provide more choice and locations for children, young people and families to access social, leisure and play activities.

View and download the full consultation document, including appendices (PDF).

Statutory duty

We are under a legal obligation to provide or commission short breaks for children with a disability. We currently meet our statutory short break duty through a range of provision including targeted short breaks, community support, play schemes, family link scheme and overnight residential provision.

Section 17 (11) of the Children Act 1989 states that a child is disabled if they are: ’blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any kind or are substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity, or other such disability as may be prescribed’. The Council for Disabled Children suggests a child with a ‘mental disorder of any kind’ is ‘disabled’ and therefore a child ‘in need’, this will include conditions such as autism and ADHD which are found within the relevant diagnostic manuals for mental disorders.