The following twelve months represent a considerable shift in two key areas of local authority responsibility – the extension to the free childcare entitlement to 30 hours, effective from this September, and the requirement for local authorities to have converted all special educational needs statements to Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans by April 2018. Neither of these is insignificant in terms of the requirement on local authorities to have the right processes in place to roll out these initiatives.
At Capita One, we’ve been closely following developments in legislation to ensure that One continues to support your teams in carrying out these enhanced responsibilities and I’m particularly excited to be announcing the launch of our new SEND Portal as a result.
We’ve also been developing our early years portals and solutions to accommodate the free entitlement extension. Last, but by no means least, the introduction of two factor verification for the portals means that you, and those citizens and providers accessing your services, can be reassured of the highest level of security. Providers will also benefit from the efficiency of the new single sign-on feature of the portals.
Here’s a flavour of these exciting developments:
An enhanced two-way SEND portal to capture everyone’s views
One SEND Portal Plus (Citizen) provides a shared portal to fully involve parents and young people in the process - you can take their views into account and give them full visibility of all the information being provided by schools and professionals during the process, including whether the timescales for submitting information are being met. The new portal’s flexibility gives parents and young people control over how and when they submit information in support of their request, including regular updates to tell them how things are going.
External SEND professionals and schools have access to a more complete picture with SEND Portal Plus (Professional) giving them a better understanding of the context of the child to provide the most appropriate advice. They’re also better able to organise workflows efficiently with automatic reminders of statutory timescales, and a clear history of all the information they’ve shared with the SEND team in one place.
The SEND Portal Plus (Citizen) and the SEND Portal Plus (Professional) portals are fully integrated with your back-office database in One, removing the need for SEND teams to re-enter information and, as everyone is kept fully up to date, cutting down on the number of phone and email enquiries. Teams can automatically collate information from various contributors when developing an EHC Plan, freeing up their time to provide support to children and families whilst demonstrating increased visibility and transparency of decision-making.
Supporting the extended childcare entitlement to 30 Hours
From September 2017, some parents will qualify for additional free childcare in addition to the universal entitlement for their 3 and 4 year olds. They’ll find out whether they qualify by applying directly on the HMRC website and, if eligible, they’re sent an 11 digit eligibility code. The parent then provides this code to the provider(s) who are responsible for checking the validity dates of the code before then checking to see if a place is available.
The One development team has been looking at how the existing One Provider Headcount Portal and Early Years modules will support these new requirements. As part of the spring release, we’ve focused on enabling providers to perform the check to determine whether a parent qualifies for the extended hours of entitlement. We’re then releasing further functionality in our 2017 summer release to support the collection of the extended hours from the providers and the management and payment of the additional hours in the back office.
Two factor verification and single sign on for portals
A recent study revealed that although UK citizens are keen to use digital public services, nearly half of those responding (48%) said they’re concerned about unauthorised access to their data. To support you in reassuring and engaging your communities in your digitalisation journey, we’ve introduced an extra layer of security for our portals - two-factor (also known as ‘multi-factor’) verification.
We’re aware of how important it is to streamline workflows, whether for local authority teams, childcare providers or other professionals. This is why we’ve enabled single sign on with the One provider portals – this means that each of your users can use one set of login details across all the One portals they’re authorised to access.
The above is just a flavour of what we’re releasing this Spring – why not take a look at MyAccount for the full details. Please let me know what aspect(s) you think your teams will find most useful using the blog comments box below.