"Welcome to the SEND Improvement Programme web pages. On these pages you’ll find more information about the programme, how it’s being managed and what it’s doing.
“The key document is our Written Statement of Action. This sets out what we’re doing to respond to the recommendations following our inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission in March 2019. It’s an 18 month plan and we are in the early stages of delivery.
“We are committed to improving services for children and young adults with SEND in Cumbria and we know that to do that we need to work hand-in-hand with parents and carers. We now have parent/carer representatives on all our Working Groups and on our Improvement Board. We are also developing an engagement plan to ensure we hear from as many parents/carers and children/young adults as possible about their experiences of SEND services.
“One of the real challenges that's emerging as we try to develop our working with parents and carers is the speed with which people want things to change (which is justified) and the speed at which big bureaucracies like the council and NHS can change. So I can fully understand if parents/carers might be frustrated because things don’t feel different 'on the ground' just yet. But the programme is really picking up momentum now and I'm confident that you will start to see improvements in how we do things coming through soon. Please bear with us, we know there's a lot to do, but unfortunately we can't fix it all at the same time."
Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills at Cumbria County Council and Lead officer for the Cumbria SEND Improvement Programme
We anticipate publishing an update e-newsletter about once every six weeks, with additional updates and alerts when relevant.
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Agencies in Cumbria have been working together to improve the quality and accessibility of services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) and in March 2019 Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an inspection of these services. The inspection identified a range of areas where improvements were needed.
You can read their full report here which was published on 22 May.
Many of the findings and recommendations had already been identified by our teams and we know there is much to do to make improvements for young people in Cumbria.
The first requirement by Ofsted/CQC was for the three lead agencies to produce a document called a Written Statement of Action (WSoA). The WSoA is a plan which sets out how we will respond to the specific recommendations made in the inspection report.
You can read the approved Written Statement of Action here
The WSoA does not limit us and is not everything that needs to be done to improve services. It is what we must deliver, but it can be added to as the project progresses.
The SEND Improvement Programme is being led by an Improvement Board. The Board includes senior officers and Councillors from CCC and the NHS as well as parent/carer representatives from the Cumbria Parent Carer Forum. The Board is Chaired by Linda Clegg. Linda is independent of both CCC and the NHS and has extensive experience of working on similar projects across the country. The Board oversees the whole project, ensures progress is being made and takes key decisions.
The work to develop and deliver the improvement activity is managed by six Working Groups. These are:
- Understanding of local need
- Commissioning and access to provision
- Engagement and co-production
- Preparation for adulthood
- Emotional health and well-being
- SEN support
All working groups include representatives from relevant agencies, including CCC and the NHS. There will also be parent/carer representatives on these groups (more about this below). Most Working Groups have had one or two meetings so far and a calendar of future meetings is being developed. All the actions that the Working Groups have so far agreed can be found in the Written Statement of Action.
We are committed to working with parents, carers, children and young adults to improve services. Learning from your experiences is fundamental to ensure the right decisions are made about how services should change. The Engagement and Co-Production Working Group is developing how this will happen. We want to provide a range of ways to get involved, recognising that the time people have to commit to this will vary.
So far parents/carers are represented on the SEND Improvement Board through the Cumbria Parent Carer Forum (CPCF). Parents/carers are also represented on the six working groups. Over 40 people put their names forward to be considered to attend Working Groups after a request via the CPCF.
Those parents were selected following an initial meeting with these parent/carers took place in August which considered how best to organise parent/carer representation on the groups. Parents/carers who attended the meeting agreed a process to select four representatives per working group to share the task of representing parent/carers (see names in table below). The process has ensured a mix of parents/carers from different parts of the county and with children with a wide range of needs.
In addition it was agreed that all parent/carers who had expressed an interest would form a Reference Group for the SEND Improvement Programme. The Reference Group would allow parent/carers to share their experiences of the programme and provide a sounding board for its work. It was also agreed that two additional representatives would be nominated to attend the SEND Improvement Board, alongside the Chair of the CPCF.
Working Groups and the Reference Group are only one way that parents/carers will be involved. We will be developing a full programme of engagement and co-production on specific topics, in discussion with parents/carers, which will take place over the coming months. Make sure you sign up for these email alerts to keep up to date.
We will also have a strong focus on working directly with children and young adults to ensure their views inform and guide our work.
One of the first things we are doing is to conduct a large scale survey of all parents/carers of children and young people with an EHCP, and a similar survey for SEN Support. This will provide important information about your experiences. Hearing from as many parents/carers as possible is important and we hope you will take time to respond. Sign up to email alerts to keep up to date.
The way parents/carers work with professionals is by forming groups called parent carer forums. A parent carer forum is a group of parents and carers of disabled children. Their aim is to make sure the services in their area meet the needs of disabled children and their families.
They do this by gathering the views of local families and then working in partnership with local authorities, education settings, health providers and other providers to highlight where local services, processes and commissioners are working well, or challenge when changes or improvements need to be made.
Forums usually have a steering group of parents who lead this work and listen to the views of other parents in the local area to make sure they know what is important to them. Forums are keen to hear from as many parent carers as possible.
There is recognition that the role of the Parent Carer Forum is something that needs to be reviewed as part of the SEND Improvement Programme and this is included in the Written Statement of Action. No decisions have been made, other than the need for a review, and we will work closely with parents/carers to ensure the forum can work for everyone.
SEND Improvement Board - Chair; Senior Responsible Officers and Board Parent/Carer Representatives
|Linda Clegg||Independent Chair, Cumbria SEND Improvement Board|
|Dan Barton||Assistant Director - Education and Skills, Cumbria County Council|
|Shirley Murphy||Chair of the Cumbria Parent Carer Forum|
|Greg Everatt||Senior Commissioning Manager, NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group|
|Hilary Fordham||Chief Operating Officer, NHS Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group|
|Cllr Sue Sanderson||Cabinet Member - Schools and Learning|
|Cllr Anne Burns||Cabinet Member - Children's Services|
|Juliet Buchanan||SEND Improvement Board Representative|
|Rebecca Mullins||SEND Improvement Board Representative|
Working Group - Chairs and parent/carer representatives
|Working Group||Chair||Parent/Carer Representatives|
| Group 1
Understanding of Local Need
| Fiona Musgrave, Assistance Director,
Partnerships and Integration, CCC
| Laura Corkill - Barrow
Sarah Bisson - Eden
Rachel Henderson - Barrow
Rebecca Mullins - Carlisle
| Group 2
Commissioning and Access to
| Greg Everatt, Senior Commissioning Manager,
| Carole Woodman - Copeland
Hayley Stewart - Carlisle
Emma Crabtree - Barrow
George Bell - South Lakes
| Group 3
Engagement and Co-Production
|David Blacklock, Chief Executive, People First|| Charlotte Wight - South Lakes
Rachael Hannah Davies - Allerdale
Kerryanne Wilde - Eden
Rosie Brown - Barrow
| Group 4
Preparation for Adulthood
| Dan Barton, Assistant Director, Education
and Skills, CCC
| Gill Ireland - Carlisle
Louise Coombs - Barrow
Karen Whittingham - South Lakes
Shirley Murphy - Allerdale
| Group 5
Emotional Health and Well-being
|Colin Cox, Director Public Health, CCC|| Christina Bowman - Eden
Hayley Tancred - Eden
Juliet Buchanan - Copeland
Rachael Fredricks - Barrow
| Group 6
| Mary Mulligan, Senior Manager,
| Jacqueline E Woodburn - Copeland
Tracy Graham - Allerdale
Charlotte Preston - Barrow