The special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms have been a big story since they were introduced last September and are already having a real impact on the way local authorities work across England.
Representing the most significant legislative change in this area in 30 years and following an 18 month consultation and planning process, the SEND reforms require local authorities to work in a more joined-up way with parents, young people and multi-agency professionals.
The aim is that this will put children and parents at the heart of the system, with much improved access to information about themselves and services they can receive.
For 2015 and 2016, authorities will be given extra money to implement these changes – the total of £31.7 million in 2015 invested by the Department for Education represents an important step in supporting local authorities to make these changes.
Authorities will now be looking at how they are going to spend this money to make sure their share can make a difference.
Last year, we released our new SEND solution, compliant with the 2014 Code of Practice, to support local authorities in responding to these reforms.
This flexible case management solution supports all of the new back-office processes including statutory timescales, whilst making it easier for you to work closely with partners in health, social care and the voluntary sector to create personalised plans that ensure children and families get the support they need.
We’ve been busy since then working on new Portals to be released this summer to support multi-agency, parent and child involvement, engagement and information sharing.
The first phase of the portal will allow stakeholders in a child’s care (including children and young people themselves) to send information via the portal to your authority, embracing the culture of the reforms by allowing those working with the child to be more involved in SEND assessments.
The new portals will also help you meet the Ofsted requirement around information sharing with parents and children, by granting access to approved members of that child’s family and enabling them to be more involved.
We’ll be announcing the launch of our new portal later this year so watch this space. In the meantime, find out more about our SEND solution here.
We’ll also be talking about the new portal at our National User Group (NUG) in April and look forward to meeting you all there.