Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 'Local Offer'
As part of The Children and Families Act 2014, the Government issued a Green Paper, (a consultation document), which announced that they wanted to improve the special educational needs system. This is to provide better outcomes for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities and to improve the experience of parents/carers when securing support for their children.
As a result The Children and Families Bill was passed through Parliament and received royal assent in March 2014, and will be coming into force from September 2014.
Among the requirements placed on Local Authorities within the Bill, there are two clauses which relate to the provision of information:
Clause 30 – duty on local authorities to provide information of what services are available.
Clause 32 – information and advice for parents and young people.
From September 2014, every Local Authority will be required to publish
information about services they expect to be available in their area for children and young people from birth to 25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND); and also services outside of the area which they expect children and young people from their area will use. This will be known as the ‘Local Offer’.
The Local Offer will put all the information about education, health and care services, leisure activities and support groups in one place.
It has two main purposes:
to provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available;
to make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations.
The Government says that the Local Offer must be developed and reviewed in partnership with children and young people, parent carers and local services including early years settings, schools, colleges, health and social care agencies. This is called ‘co-production’.
People and services commissioned by the Local Authority to support children and young people with special educational needs should complete a Local Offer based on a set of questions which have been developed through co-production; within the framework and guidance produced by the South East Seven (SE7) Local Authorities Government Pathfinder.
All Local Offers will be formally ‘published’ on the dedicated Hampshire Local Offer website which is currently in development.
Hampshire families and practitioners will be able to access information on a range of education, health, adult and child social care services.
Services for Young Children are working with childcare and early years education providers to develop their individual Local Offers which when published will inform current and future users of their services.
The SfYC inclusion and information teams who support practitioners and families have developed Local Offers so that service users are able to make informed decisions. Draft versions of these can be found in the right hand column under the heading, 'SfYC Local Offers'. Further ones will be added to this page as they become available.
Early education and childcare providers should develop their own service Local Offers in order to help families to make informed choices for their children and young people.
There are two stages to follow.
Stage 1: Develop a draft Local Offer
Under the section on the right hand side called 'Local Offer Guidance and Resources' there is a guidance on how to do this and a template form for creating your Offer.
If you are funded to provide education (EYE) you need to complete the 'Education Settings' template, following the specific guidance.Other childcare providers need to complete the 'Education Services' template.
There are draft examples of Local Offers on the right hand side column.
When your Offer has been drafted keep an electonic copy, safely.
Stage 2: Publishing your Local Offer
Once the Hampshire Local Offer website has been tested and any subsequent technical changes made, this page will be updated to explain the next steps for uploading your Offer to the central Hampshire site. Communications will also go out through other SfYC channels and PACEY.