Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

SEND parent temperature check survey results published

Friday, 23 June 2023

Today (Friday 23 June) saw the publication of the SNAP PCF (Special Needs Action Panel Parent Carer Forum) temperature check survey results.

532 parent carers of children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) shared their experience of SEND services in Central Bedfordshire, this includes services provided by the Council, health services, schools and other partners.

SNAP PCF have made a series of recommendations to the SEND Partnership, many of which are being addressed.

Councillor Hayley Whitaker, our Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:

These results are hugely disappointing and helpfully highlight several areas where Central Bedfordshire Council can now focus its attention to bring meaningful improvements to SEND families. We are very grateful to all of the parents and carers that have taken the time to share their views and I want to reassure families that we are listening.'

We have already put into action many of the suggestions made in this report. We will continue to listen and respect the feedback from our SEND families and work with SNAP PCF and partners across the SEND Partnership to bring about the improvements we acknowledge are needed.

How the partners are responding to each recommendation
Recommendation Action being taken by SEND Partnership
Re-brand the SEND Team including re-naming to ‘EHCP Team’ and re-write parent communication documents using the Local Offer images on the paperwork. We have taken up SNAP PCF’s suggestion and have renamed the SEND Team the EHCP Team. We are working with SNAP PCF on updating our paperwork to parent carers and senior staff will meet to review all documents on the Local Offer. 
Ask Human Resources to analyse reasons for high staff turnover within the SEND Team. It is standard practice within the council to hold exit interviews with staff who decide to leave. There are a variety of reasons why staff leave the team.
SNAP PCF to present the results of this survey to both senior management and the SEND Team. The report will be shared at the next SEND Executive Board meeting and at a EHCP Team meeting.
Record phone calls made by the SEND Team for quality and training purposes. This has been investigated and it is only possible to record calls that come via a generic, central line, such as customer services, rather than calls made directly to the Team.
Online tracker for EHCP process such as Jadu. This is being looked into – we are keen to digitalise EHCPs and have an online tracking process – this is also in line with the DfE’s intentions for all local authorities in their SEND and AP Plan.
Quality Assurance process in place and monitored using SMART objectives. Include SNAP PCF in reviewing complaints and case-studies to triangulate the data.   We have undertaken Quarter 1 EHCP audit – SNAP PCF have been actively involved in the development and implementation of the audit.  We welcome further opportunities to look at key themes from complaints with SNAP PCF to triangulate the information/data, but also to jointly problem solve to address any issues.
Customers service training for the SEND Team. Feedback from SNAP PCF has been very helpful in shaping the training input for the SEND Team.  A EHC Team training July will include person-centred reviews and supportive conversations.
SNAP PCF to support coproduction training of the SEND Team.  This is taking place and a date has been agreed.
Welcome booklets for EHCNA, phased transfer and EHCP Annual Review. We have had initial conversations with SNAP PCF who are keen to support us with this work.  It links very well to the changes that we are making to some of our processes, and the information we share with parent carers and schools. New paperwork for phased transfer has been co-produced with SNAP PCF and was sent to families in June, inviting them to a parent session on the phased transfer process. 
Meet parents, build relationships with them, keep them updated. We are planning regular ‘drop ins’ for parents and carers to meet with staff in SEND. Specific Drop ins for families whose children are having an EHCNA are being scheduled to take place on a half-termly basis. 
SENDIASS to deliver parent training of the EHCNA and Annual Review process. We support SENDIASS delivering parent training on the EHCNA and Annual Review process and would be happy for representatives from the EHCP Team, or the SEN Advisory Teachers to contribute to this training.
A review of all waiting times, including any our local charities have and the support families are receiving whist waiting. To be discussed with Health
Review the current offer of Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy. To be discussed with Health
Review the Children with Disability criteria. Children’s Services have made the decision to appoint a Head of Service for Children with Disabilities – it is anticipated that they will be in post in September 2023. This role will sit within the social care and early help senior leadership team and provide dedicated focus for children with disabilities whilst working very closely with the Head of Service for SEND to ensure join up across the service. The appointed person will be reviewing the services available to children with disabilities in autumn 2023.
Ordinarily available provision for schools and a guide for parents similar to Bristol’s. We are working on Ordinarily Available guidance for schools and would be happy to co-produce a guide for parents.
Parent carers report their child/young person is not being supported by their mainstream school. Whilst some parents talked very positively about their child or young person’s school and or the SENCO, which was positive to read, other parents raised concerns about their EHCP not being delivered in the school, the lack of support from their school and not feeling listened to. The word not inclusive in the word cloud represents parents’ dissatisfaction of the support school is providing. We will be working with Central Bedfordshire Council later this year on ordinarily available provision for schools.  We are planning to co-produce an Inclusion Strategy and to have an Inclusion Award for mainstream schools.