In March 2011, the Government published a 'Green Paper' setting out their proposed changes for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN), learning difficulties and disabilities, across services provided by health, social care and education. This was in response to the fact that hundreds of thousands of families have a disabled child or a child with SEN. Parents have said that the current system is bureaucratic and adversarial and that it does not sufficiently reflect the needs of their child and their family life.
The Government have set up a Pathfinder programme, to help test if the proposals in the Green Paper could work in practice and make a difference. Hampshire has been chosen, as part of a successful regional bid with six other south east areas (called the South East 7 or SE7), to develop and trial these new approaches. The Pathfinder will be involving parents/carers and the voluntary and community sector at the heart of the development. The approach within Hampshire is set out within this summary.
“The Hampshire Parent/Carer Network welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with Hampshire County Council and the Health Authority on this important agenda. By working together, we believe there is a real opportunity to shape services which will effectively meet the needs of disabled children and young people, and their future” - [Parent Voice and the Hampshire Parent/Carer Network]
The pathfinders will all test some core elements of reform, including:
Pathfinders will also test some optional elements, including:
Hampshire has been chosen, as part of a successful regional bid with six other south east areas (called the South East 7 or SE7), to develop and trial these new approaches.
The four key areas of focus within Hampshire are:
The Local Change Board meets bi-monthly and reports, via the Hampshire Lead Officer (Fliss Dickinson, County Service Manager (SEN and Specialist Teacher Advisory Service), to the SE7 Pathfinder Regional Steering Group which also meets bi-monthly. This Steering Group is responsible for reporting the progress and outcomes of the Pathfinder programme regionally to the SE7 Directors of Children's Services and Leaders and to the Department of Education and Department of Health.
Delegated accountability for the programme of work within the Hampshire Pathfinder areas rests with the Deputy Director of Children’s Services (Children and Families), Steve Crocker, who is also the Chair of the Hampshire Change Board. The Vice Chair is Ray Daniels, a parent/carer represenative from the Hampshire Parent Carer Network. Accountability for local decisions within the programme rests with the Pathfinder Change Board. The Terms of Reference set out the remit and membership of the group.Change Board Meeting Papers
Parents are involved in all aspects of the Pathfinder program in Hampshire, in a variety of capacities.
The main "Change Board" decides on the strategy and direction for pathfinder activity in Hampshire and we have 2 parents reps on this board, one of whom is also the vice-chair of the Board. In addition, we have 2 parent reps on the "Core Group" which looks at the implementation of activity (as opposed to strategic decision making) across all Pathfinder areas.
There are a number of Pathfinder workstreams in place in Hampshire and on each of those we have 2 parent reps. Some of the work streams also have sub-groups (for example an Education sub-group for the Local Offer work stream) and parents sit on those groups also.
We use an online document sharing system "Huddle" to allow all parents who are involved to share notes, updates and information from their meetings. There is a facility to have online discussions and to comment/discuss files that have been uploaded. Parent reps all make a commitment to share information in this way. The documents uploaded are available for the whole Hampshire Parent/Carer Network committee to see, meaning that wider input is available when needed.
In addition to this, we also have a monthly face to face meeting where we discuss the Pathfinder from a parental point of view and again, this allows us the opportunity to share information and ideas.
In April 2012, Hampshire Parent/Carer Network (HPCN) and Parent Voice undertook a parental confidence survey to help inform the Pathfinder work in Hampshire. 470 parents/carers responded. The results of the survey have been shared widely and are being used to inform current work and projects taking place.
In November, 2012 HPCN and Parent Voice submitted a joint response to the Education Select Committee who were scrutinising the draft Legislation. As a result of this, two parent reps were invited to the Select Committee hearing on 6 November to give verbal evidence on behalf of parents and carers. Our response is available online through the SE7pathfinder webpage [link here].
We post updates on our Facebook page (this can be reached via our webpage link on the right of this page or can we put the link back in here? I couldn't email it with it in) about national developments and local activities taking place. "Like" our page to be kept informed.
For further information, or to get involved with the Hampshire Parent/Carer Network:
Telephone: 07770 977124
Alternatively you can email Hampshire County Council.
All SE7 Pathfinder work has been co-produced with parents, the voluntary and community sector and a range of other people involved in the process like schools, Adult Services for Transition, Colleges, Health. This is a booklet from parent carer representatives on what co-production means and has meant during the SE7 Pathfinder work:
The Draft Bill was published 5 February 2013, which gave some clarity around expectations. The indicative draft of the Regulations and Code of Practice were received 14 March 2013. Key headlines from the Bill, as set out by the DfE, are:
Some reassuring news was published 5 March 2013. Edward Timpson MP announced that the Bill would be amended to place a legal duty on Clinical Commissioning Groups to secure health services that are specified in EHC Plans. This had been absent in the Draft Bill published 5 February. Further details on what this means in practice is awaited from the DfE.
Formal consultation on the indicative Code of Practice and Regulations will be undertaken in the Autumn of 2013, however, as a Pathfinder we have the opportunity to provide early feedback following the publication of the indicative drafts.
Read the latest update from the Project Group, which provides an overview of the Pathfinder and the activities that will be undertaken in Hampshire.
SE7 Regional web pages:
SE7 Regional Pathfinder website
To find out more, please contact Children's Services