Actions agreed to improve services for special educational needs and disabilities

Published Wednesday, 22nd May 2019

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Plans have been formally agreed to address concerns relating to the quality of services delivered to children in Southend-on-Sea with special educational needs and disabilities.

OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission conducted a joint inspection of the services provided by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Public Health, schools and other settings in October 2018.

The report was published in December and whilst it recognised ongoing improvements, it said changes were not happening quickly enough. A joint statement of action, agreed between all organisations, was prepared in response and includes:

  • partnership working, by working more closely with children, young people and their families to commission the right services at the right time, whilst making good use of joint resources and tailoring services to individual needs.
  • the local offer and available services will be promoted more effectively to make sure people know about the local offer, including improving the website, and that the offer meets the needs of children and makes a difference.
  • education health care plans will be easier to understand, simple to achieve and timely, and will take into account the views of families and carers.
  • high quality assured provision, including making sure the information we have is current and accurate, act earlier where we can to support the child’s needs, with the schools full involvement and regular checks to make sure education needs are being met.

The statement of action has been praised by OFSTED and the CQC for being “precise” and that the local area’s “commitment to coproduction, consultation and collaborative working remains a strength in this plan”.

Alison Griffin, Chief Executive at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “This plan shows our determination to make the improvements needed to give vulnerable children in our Borough and their families, the level of service and support they deserve.

“We have already made a number of changes to our procedures, which have been recognised by the inspecting bodies, but we will build on this. The written statement of action has been uploaded on our website so parents, carers, children and young people can understand what changes we are committed to making.”

The original inspection in October last year involved visits to several settings and conversations with officers, clinicians, practitioners, stakeholders, parents and carers. It took in all aspects of physical health, mental health and educational services for SEND children across the borough of Southend-on-Sea.

The report said more needed to be done to act upon the views of families and children with SEND, better promotion of available services, and closer collaboration between organisations to jointly commission services to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.

Jacqui Lansley, Director of Integration and Partnerships for Southend CCG and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, added: “The CCG is absolutely committed to working with partners to improve the joint commissioning of services and deliver the written statement of action to make lives better and deliver the outcomes needed to improve the lives of our children and Young People with special needs in Southend”.

The statement of action and the initial full report can be found on our website here.