What is the east Kent’s “Local Offer” for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability?
The Children and Families Act was passed in March 2014. This means that Local authorities are required to publish and keep up to date information about services from Education, Health and Social Care which will be available for children and young people with special educational needs aged 0-25. This is the ‘Local Offer’.
The intention of the Local Offer is to improve choice, flexibility and transparency for families and to help them have more control over services by setting out the local provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or a Disability (SEND) and their families.
It will make information available in one place about the services children, young people and their families can expect from a range of local agencies. It is also an important resource for professionals in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area.
The Local Offer sets out what provision is normally available from early years’ settings, schools (including academies), independent and free schools, colleges and other services including health and social care.
Kent CCGs know that the journey through education, health and social care is not always easy to understand, especially if you have a child or young person with SEN and/or a disability. The Local Offer is a guide to relevant advice and information to help find the right support you need to make the right decisions and to plan for the future.
What are the east Kent CCGs doing?
The east Kent Children’s Commissioning Support team are working on behalf of all four CCGs (Ashford, Canterbury and Coastal, South Kent Coast and Thanet) to coordinate joint commissioning arrangement in partnership with the other Kent CCGs and local Authorities. It is the aim of this partnership to agree joint commissioning arrangements for all children and young people with SEND and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plan).
All Kent CCGs are currently working together to identify the current services that are provided and where there are gaps which need to be addressed by both the local authority and CCGs.
What does this mean for you?
Kent NHS services will no longer be using the familiar term and procedure of a ‘statement’ for children with Special Education Needs. This will be replaced by the EHC Plans and process, along with the local offer.
One of the key intentions of this change is to improve parental accessibility, choice and control in a system which can be seen as being overly complex and time consuming. The aim of the new plan is to bring together education, health and care service to achieve agreed outcomes.
The new plans put children, young people and families at the centre of the assessment and planning process. This is called “person centred planning” and is all about increasing your choice and control.
The Local Offer will be very important in providing information and advice to parents about what arrangements, services and provision available to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.
For more information please use the link below:
NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group 10 October 2016