Hampshire is part of a group of seven local areas working together in the South East called SE7.
SE7 has been chosen to be a Pathfinder to work with the government to test out new ways of working together to provide better, joined up assessment, planning and support to children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities aged 0-25 covering education, health and care.
Each Pathfinder authority will work closely with a small number of volunteer families to try out the new approaches. The Pathfinder ends in March 2013.
The government Green Paper Support and aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs and disability said that Pathfinders would also try out offering parents/carers or young people a personal budget which would allow them more freedom to decide how the outcomes in the education, health and care plan would be met.
This personal budget could:
be given as a direct payment where parent/carer or young person is able to manage the cash; or
be managed by a third party on behalf of the parent/carer or young person
Or the parents/carers or young person could ask the local authority to manage the budget on their behalf.
For many years parents/carers of some disabled children and young people in Hampshire have been given a direct payment for social care services. The law has been extended so that Pathfinder authorities are allowed to offer direct payments for special education to parent carers or young people with a statement of special educational needs or a Section 139a learning difficulties assessment.
In Hampshire, at the moment the education budget, including for special educational needs, is almost entirely delegated directly to schools. This funding is not available to the County Council to provide as a direct payment. Across SE7 we are looking at whether there is any funding held centrally which could be made available. We will also need to set up systems for allocating and managing any education direct payments we might make through the Pathfinder. We will work closely across the region and with our Pathfinder families on this.
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