Short breaks for children and young people with SEND consultation

The case for change and proposed new model for short breaks

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

The review of the funding and delivery model aims to improve the choice and offer for parents for the following reasons:

  • move towards personalisation by providing more choice of provision
  • make services / support available to a wider number of parents / children, currently only 5% of those eligible for the services are accessing them
  • make the services / support available across all areas of Central Bedfordshire
  • make the services and support sustainable

Proposed new model

In the new model, we propose that the grant funding is accessible to any relevant, local, organisation. The bidding process will be fair and transparent.

Alongside this, we've also been developing a much more diverse offer of specialist SEND activities, delivered by trained staff in an environment that is suitable for those with different needs, within community settings. This has proved to be very well received and the council is continuing to develop this offer and promote it. Again, this will provide more choice and locations for service users.

The information below explains these changes in more detail.

Future grant funding model

Grant funding will be available through a clear, transparent and structured, bidding process, in order to maximise provision for children, young people and their families with SEND. As part of this development we propose:

To open the grant funding process to enable organisations to apply for funding to support after-school, weekend and holiday provision for children, young people and their families with SEND.

Ring-fence a proportion of the funding to support new start-up community organisations, or currently unfunded voluntary organisations, to meet clear gaps in provision and areas of need. This proportion of the funding will be referred to as ‘seed / start-up funding’.

Each grant could be awarded for different organisations and different periods of time. For instance, seed funding would have to be used within a financial year but grants for standard provision could be over a longer period. This both drives innovation and provides financial stability for organisations providing existing services.

The bidding process

The proposed initial schedule will be from autumn 2023 with the notification of grants opening in January 2023 through to final decisions being made in April 2023 with organisations starting their work in 2024.

The bidding process
Date Action
1 September 2022 to 10 November 2022

Public consultation

December 2022

Finalising proposed model based on public consultation feedback

17 January 2023

Presentation of finalised proposal to Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

7 February 2023

Presentation of finalised proposal to Executive

20 February 2023

Publication of finalised model for families and voluntary organisations

1 March 2023

Hold grant funding process

12 June to 30 June 2023

Award grants and begin mobilisation for new organisations

April 2024

Organisations begin delivery following the summer holidays

We will also create a SEND provider forum, giving organisations and relevant authorities the opportunity to meet on a regular basis and discuss issues, concerns and opportunities for growing the sector. This will also serve as a platform to provide training to organisations to strengthen the level of provision available across Central Bedfordshire.

Specialist SEND activities in community settings

Parent engagement informed us on how crucial, inclusive and accessible local services and support are for children and young people with SEND and their families.

As a result of this feedback, we funded organisations to deliver various holiday activities in 2021 and into 2022, these included:

  • Phab (Inclusive Living Experiences – ILX Residential Holiday Project)
  • Freddie and Friends Sunshine Stop (Activity Days)
  • Kids in Action (Holiday Youth Club)
  • FUN (Additional Junior Respite Club sessions during school holidays)
  • Spectrum Community Arts (Interactive Sensory Story Exploration Workshops)
  • Imagination Dance (Holiday Workshops)

We are working to improve inclusion and accessibility within all provision as part of a wider programme of activities throughout 2022 and beyond.

We believe the new funding model and the additional SEND activities in community settings will encourage creativity and innovation in provision, which will increase the choice of short break options for parents, thus supporting personalisation.

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