The Board received a report and accompanying presentation on the consultation and scope of the proposed local area SEND Strategy for 2021-24.
The Board was advised that The Children and Families Act 2014 and SEND Code of Practice 2015 set out the statutory requirements and practice required from local areas to meet the needs of children and young people (0-25 years) with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The code stated that statutory bodies in these local areas must work together to meet these requirements, so the SEND Strategy for 2021-25 would be a joint strategy under the governance of the Halton Health and Wellbeing Board; the Children’s Trust and Halton Borough Council and be delivered by all three.
It was noted that the draft strategy had also been produced in partnership with other statutory bodies from education and health, including schools, the CCG, and parent carer and young people’s representatives.
The presentation outlined the vision of the Strategy, its principles, its four priorities and Governance. The one page Strategy document was also presented which would be a single page living document. It was noted that the next steps would be to start the consultation – to which Members would be invited to contribute; this would lead to the development of actions plans for each of the priority areas and agreement of KPI’s and milestones.
Considering there were so many priorities how would the KPI’s be assessed – it was important to measure each outcome to know whether they were successful or not, so the significant priorities would be measured. It was important to note that 17.5% of Halton’s children were SEND and some of those were Children in Care; some outcomes would incorporate feedback from these children on a regular basis so that we could ensure they were heard.
Considering the cuts made to Youth Services how will this Strategy be funded – the Youth Service provision would not be reduced but it was proposed that it be delivered in a different way, allowing more local and community involvement. The Strategy was proposing better support and services to be able to identify SEND early so that support and education could be provided in the community, thus reducing the reliance on specialist out of borough provision. This in turn would alleviate pressures on the high needs budget.
Have you taken into consideration who the audience will be and the need for it to be understood by all – yes this had been raised and discussed and the language used would be taken into consideration, so that it was user friendly for professionals, parents and young people.
The Chair requested that an update be brought to the Board following the consultation, with progress of the action plans.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) considered the presentation and notes comments and questions made in relation the draft SEND Strategy; and
2) requests annual progress updates on the delivery of the SEND Strategy to ensure that leaders remain informed and able to enquire and intervene as deemed necessary.