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)
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 discussed and made 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 was heavily involved 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.
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 senior representatives and 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 and more (senior) 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
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
- Consultation events
- Direct polling on individual subjects
- Face to face opportunities
- A regular newsletter or podcast for young people
We have been receiving lots of comments about this through the "feedback faces" but it would help us to have your constructive suggestions and ideas and we will take these into account.
Currently we are seeking your views about the SEND Local Offer website in a survey. We invite you to take part.
SEND Family Voices*
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. This included special schools and pupils with SEN in mainstream settings.