Achieving for Children (AfC) worked with parents, young people, voluntary organisations and professionals to develop the initial design and content of the Local Offer website. This is called co-production. AfC are grateful for the work that user groups and young people have contributed to the design and page content of the site so far.
The original SEND Champions explain their involvement ( SEND Champions was a specific project that ended after the launch of the reforms.)
How we continue to work together to produce and develop the Local Offer
The Local Offer will never be "finished" and will always be developing. This is because we will continue to work in co-production to review the content of the Local Offer in terms of the services offered and the type information provided. This will also include the way the Local Offer is presented on the website and in other formats.
The Local Offer should be:
- accessible – using clear, jargon free language and presenting information in a range of formats to make sure that it can be easily understood by children, young people and their parents / carers.
- signposting available support – providing information about what support is available, when and where it can be accessed.
- up to date – maintained and relevant.
- easy to navigate – making finding information online and in other formats easy.
- visually attractive – looking appealing and functional, including on mobile / tablet devices.
- transparent – providing impartial, accurate and honest information, advice and guidance.
Gaps in service will be identified through consultation with parents, young people, voluntary organisations and professionals. The Local Offer website is capable of monitoring web usage and has a reporting facility that will tell us when users have searched for some thing that isn't available.
Local Offer Development Group (LODG)
Update to information 27 July
We have been receiving comments (see below) about our decision to bring the Local Offer Development Group to an end. We are sorry that we had not updated this page to reflect this earlier and to explain our reasons for making this decision.
Feedback received July 2018
All the rhetoric of co-production is shambles. Local Offer pretends to have a development group but this has been abolished shameful AfC. I’m a parent and like many people in the community I’m deeply disappointed by lack of cooperation. Bring back the development group!
Lack of accountability. Bring back the Local Offer Development Group. Many parents and community reps are disappointed
You say about the local offer development group on this page but in reality it's been scrapped! An important opportunity for accountability has been abolished! Parents like me would be happy if you could revitalise this group with a broader community focus. Also senior leaders should make more effort to take part and hear parent's views! Our views as parents, carers and families must be heard!
From the launch of the Local Offer website until early 2018, developments of the Local Offer website were discussed in the forum of a Local Offer Development Group. The group was set up to discuss and make decisions about the management and development of the Local Offer website.
The group was (but not consistently):
- Young person (representing and feeding back to a wider group of young people)*
- Parent representatives from SEND Family Voices*
- Member of SENDIASS service
- Participation Team
- Education Representative
- Other invitees or guests as and when subject requires
The group, working as a conduit to an even wider group of contibutors, was instrumental in the original design and the subsequent refresh of the Local Offer when it was integrated with the AfCinfo site in 2017. They identified gaps and worked with the Local Offer Website Manager to create or suggest new content. Achieving for Children are grateful to those original members who were key to the successful implemention of this part of the reforms. However, with the website design and function more settled, the format of the LODG did not, in our opinion, serve a broad enough purpose or have wide enough representation.
Managing the Local Offer now
A SEND review was completed early in 2018 and led to the establishment of work-streams to improve provision for children with SEND and support for those working with them. The resulting action plans are monitored by the SEND Action Group which meets half termly. Parent representatives, the Participation Team and the Local Offer Website Manager sit on these groups alongside Achieving for Children teams, partners and colleagues representing Education, Health and Care.
Developments as a result of the SEND Review will affect the Local Offer. A decision was therefore made by Achieving for Children to discontinue the LODG in favour of including the Local Offer website development as a standing item on the agenda at the SEND Action Group, thus ensuring a wider stakeholder group in the discussions alongside relevant and wider developments coming out of the SEND review.
You can read about the SEND Review on the SEND Consultation Hub on this website.
Involving the community in the development of the Local Offer
The Local Offer is fed into by front line queries from parents and professionals continually, whether this through the "feedback faces" or through suggestions and enquiries that come into the SEND Local Offer enquiry inbox. Young people are also invited to contribute in this way if they wish or are able. Feedback in this way is invaluable and we have been able to:
- Make information clearer
- Add new information
- Feedback to professionals about their services
- Inform senior managers about trends and opinions being expressed
- Identify gaps
- Correct inaccurate or outdated information
- Fix broken links
Local authorities (in this case Achieving for Children) are duty bound to listen, publish and respond to all comments put to the Local Offer. Local authorities are not expected to publish responses to every comment individually but could, for example, adopt a ‘you said, we did’ approach.
Of course, this is not the full picture and there are many different levels and methods of including everyone in decisions about the Local Offer and these might vary depending on the scope or the subject being developed. Moving away from a small limited LODG will give us the chance to think of different ways to work with you. These will be discussed in the SEND Action Group and parent representatives and young people will be part of these discussions. Ideas for both families and children and young people might include:
- Focus Groups - for example, the Health section is an area that is emerging as a topic that might benefit from a focus group.
- Consultation events
- Direct polling on individual subjects
- Face to face opportunities
- A regular newsletter or podcast for young people
SEND Family Voices* was a parent forum representing families in Kingston and Richmond from 2014 - 2018. The forum has now ceased to operate. Achieving for Children are currently working with Contact to support the development of a new Parent Carer Forum in Kingston and Richmond.
Involving children and young people
We consult with children and young people with support from our Participation Team. The Participation Team work directly with young people on a range of topics and areas of the Local Offer including gathering the views and voices of children and young people. An example of this would be young people with SEND carrying out consultations in schools about the Local Offer website and Education, Health and Care plans. The example showed below included special schools and pupils with SEN in mainstream settings.