What is the Local Offer for children with special educational needs and disability?
The Children and Families Act was passed in March 2014. This means that local authorities are required to publish and keep up-to-date information about services from education, health and social care which will be available for children and young people with special educational needs aged 0-25. This is called the ‘Local Offer’.
The intention of the Local Offer is to improve choice, flexibility and transparency for families, and to help families have more control over services by setting out the local provision for children and young people with special educational needs and/or a disability and their families.
It makes sure information is available in one place about the services children, young people and their families can expect from a range of local agencies. This information is also an important resource for professionals in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area.
The Local Offer sets out what provision is normally available from early years services, 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 special education needs and/or a disability. You can use the Local Offer as a guide to help you find the right support and make the right decisions in planning for the future.
What is Swale CCG doing to improve the Local Offer?
We are working with the other CCGs and local authorities in Kent to coordinate joint commissioning arrangements in partnership. It is the aim of this partnership to agree joint commissioning arrangements for all children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND), education, health and care (EHC) plans.
All Kent CCGs are currently working together to identify benefits of current services and any gaps that should be addressed by both the Kent County Council and clinical commissioning groups (CCG).
What will this mean for my family?
We will no longer be using the familiar term and procedure of a ‘statement’ for children with special education needs. This will be replaced by the EHC plans and process, along with the Local Offer.
One of the key intentions of this change is to improve parental accessibility, choice and control and make things clearer and easier for families. The aim of the new plan is to bring together education, health and care services to achieve agreed outcomes.
The new plans put children, young people and families at the centre of the assessment and planning process. This is called “person-centred planning” and its purpose is to increase your choice and control.
The Local Offer will be very important in providing information and advice to parents about what arrangements and services are available to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability.
For more information, visit the Kent County Council website.