What is the Local Offer?
The Children and Families Bill was enacted on 1 September 2014. This means that Local Authorities will be required to publish and keep up to date information about services from education, health and social care in their area which they expect to be available for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) 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 (SEN) and/or a disability and their families.
The Local Offer gives information to parents of children with, and to young people with SEN and/or a disability between the ages of 0–25, in a single place. It will help them to understand what services they and their families can expect from a range of local agencies. It will also be an important resource for professionals in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area.
The Local Offer clarifies what provision is normally available from early year’s settings, schools (including academies), independent and free schools, colleges and other services including health and social care.
We 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 will change and why?
The definition of SEN will remain. However, familiar terms and procedures such as ‘school action’, ‘school action plus’ and ‘statement’ will be replaced by the Local Offer, Education, Health and Care Plans and the option of personal budgets.
One of the key intentions of these changes is to improve parental accessibility, choice and control in a system which can be seen as being overly complex and time consuming. The small proportion of children with SEN, who currently have a statement, will have a single assessment and an Education, Health and Care Plan. Those whose needs are met through school action and school action plus will form a single broad group of children whose SEN will be met via services outlined in the Local Offer.
The Local Offer provides information and advice to parents about what arrangements, services and provision they might expect to be normally available to meet SEN in children and young people whose needs do not require an Education, Health and Care Plan.
For more information on health services in your area, please click on each heading below
Whats changed so far
We have been working hard to make changes following feedback from young people their families and carers use this link to see whats happened so far
Lancashire SEND Improvement Programme
Lancashire SEND Partnership
The Lancashire SEND Partnership brings together all the agencies in Lancashire which provide special educational needs and disability (SEND) services for children, young people, their parents and carers, with representatives from those who use the service.
The SEND Partnership was formed following the Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) joint inspection of SEND services in our local area.
In 2018, our written statement of action (WSoA), set out the changes we needed to make to address the recommendations that Ofsted and the CQC made in their report.
In early 2019, we produced an important update to the WSoA called our Improvement Plan. This plan was produced by the partners who form the SEND Partnership Board which is accountable to the Health and Wellbeing Board, the NHS and the council. You can view this along with our strategy and information about how we will make sure our children, young people and their families are kept informed and involved.
- Lancashire SEND Partnership Improvement Plan
- Lancashire SEND Partnership - Working Together Strategy
- Lancashire SEND Partnership - Strategy
New Lancashire SEND Report Published
Ofsted and the CQC revisit Lancashire from 9 – 12 March 2020 to assess the progress of our work to improve SEND services for children and young people in the local area, the report was published today and can be accessed here
The purpose of the revisit was to review our progress against the twelve areas of significant concern identified during the November 2017 inspection. The inspectors recognised the improvements we have made and particularly that in seven of the twelve areas progress has been sufficient to mean that monitoring of these areas is no longer required. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has had a part to play in helping to achieve this progress. For those areas where further improvement is required, the inspectors also recognised the good work that has taken place.
During the verbal feedback of their findings, inspectors also read out an additional statement of encouragement and support to reassure the local area that whilst we have faced significant challenges and still have much work to do, the significance of our improvement journey has been recognised.
Some of the important improvements the inspectors found include:
- Provision for SEND is a priority for leaders
- Strong working relationships across the partnership
- Clear quality assurance systems in place
- Good practice being shared across the area
- Improved outcomes for children and young people
Our ambition that all services for children and young people in Lancashire are excellent is unwavering and our determination to achieve this means we still have a great deal of work to do. For our SEND services across the partnership this includes:
- Continuing to improve our understanding about the local area
- Further developing and evaluating our commissioning arrangements
- Improving the effectiveness of the new neuro-developmental pathway
- Improving transition arrangements in 0 to 25 healthcare services
- Implementing the changes to the Local Offer
More specifically across health, we need to focus on:
- Continuing to improve outcomes for children and young people
- Managing gaps in service provision, including using robust data to inform decision-making
- Managing the ASD pathway waiting times
- Putting arrangements in place for transition from children’s to adult services up to 25yrs
- Contributing meaningful health information for parent carers through the Local Offer website
- Ensuring practice is consistent across the ICS
- Engaging parent carers in partnership as we design improvements and deliver change
Over the next few weeks we will be responding to the findings in the report with a targeted action plan, which will be monitored by the DfE SEND Intervention Unit and NHSE/I, to address the five areas which continue to require improvement. This will be shared when it is finalised.
You can find more information about our work and how to get involved by visiting www.lancashire.gov.uk/SEND
Cumbria SEND Improvement Programme
Agencies in Cumbria have been working together to improve the quality and accessibility of services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) and in March 2019 Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an inspection of these services. The inspection identified a range of areas where improvements were needed.
Many of the findings and recommendations had already been identified by our teams and we know there is much to do to make improvements for young people in Cumbria.
The first requirement by Ofsted/CQC was for the three lead agencies to produce a document called a Written Statement of Action (WSoA). The WSoA is a plan which sets out how we will respond to the specific recommendations made in the inspection report.
You can read the approved Written Statement of Action here
The WSoA does not limit us and is not everything that needs to be done to improve services. It is what we must deliver, but it can be added to as the project progresses.
You can find more information about the improvement programme here