Parent Consultation and Contribution to the Local Offer
You said, we're listening
The SEND Local Offer is continually developing. Your feedback is important to help us shape the future delivery. We aim to make sure that all views are acknowledged and considered.
The feedback and comments received are recorded below, along with our response and subsequent actions.
You said - The SEND Annual Survey is long and time consuming to complete. Parents, carers and families often fill in questions that maybe aren’t relevant to their situation. This can be emotionally distressing to them.
We’re listening - As part of our ‘Accelerated Progress Plan’, we have been looking at our approach to the annual survey. We have now launched the SEND Rolling Survey.
This survey has been co-produced with SEND Allicance Cumbria, Cumbria's parent carer forum. It is short and easy for parents and carers to fill out. It can also be changed so parents and carers are only providing the most relevant feedback that is a priority to them. The survey is broken down into 9 categories. Parents and carers can select the category they wish to provide feedback on. They can retake the survey as many times as they like as they may have different experiences or new areas to provide feedback on. The survey will also be available throughout the year, with outcome reports published every 3 months.
Please note the survey is currently hosted on the Cumberland Council website but is also taking responses from Westmorland and Furness residents.
You said - Families would benefit from one place to go for information on Autism and not have to search lots of different websites.
We’re listening - We have now launched the Autism Information and Support Hub on the Local Offer website.
The Hub includes:
information about the diagnostic pathway,
the graduated approach to autism, and
how to get support and lists several useful websites.
The Autism Information and Support Hub has been developed in co-production with parent carers and young people with autism. Work on the Hub is ongoing. If there is anything you think could be improved, please complete our survey.
You said - We don't like our children being described as having a disorder or condition. For example: Autism Spectrum Condition.
We’re listening - A consultation was launched last year asking residents of Cumbria what they would prefer when it came to Autism.
The consultation results stated that most autistic individuals and families preferred identity first language, i.e. ‘an autistic person’, ‘I am autistic.’ This was instead of other terms used such as ‘the person has autism’ or ‘the person has Autistic Spectrum Disorder.’
We are now working on rolling out this terminology across multiple organisations in the county. This will ensure families are met with more consistency when speaking about autism. We really appreciate parent and carer’s patience while this work is taking place.
You said - The Transition to Adulthood process can often be confusing and distressing for families. There is not a lot of support for children and young people suffering with mental health issues. There is lack of clarity surrounding options for education and employment.
We’re listening - We completed an ‘Experiences and Outcomes’ survey on Transition to Adulthood in Summer of 2023. From this survey it was clear many families felt the process was confusing and distressing. This was especially for those who did not have an Education, Health and Care Plan. There was lack of support overall. More specific feedback was also provided, including a lack of information surrounding Care Act Assessments.
Following the responses, a report was presented at the SEND Partnership Board. In this report the SEND Partnership outlined plans to action key outcomes:
Create a Transition to Adulthood Support Pack for children who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan. We hope to begin work on this early 2024.
Work in partnership with the commissioned career support service, Inspira to ensure maximum outreach. Information about Inspira can be found on the Local Offer.
Raise awareness and how to request a Care Act Assessment. We hope to complete a session with Westmorland and Furness SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIAS) surrounding Care Act Assessments in early 2024. This will become available on the Local Offer.
Undertake focussed work over 2023/24 in context of Government Action Plan (SEND AP) surrounding year 9 annual reviews. Create a panel of parents/carers with children entering year 9. We have started to create this panel and are asking for parents and carers to please register their interest.
You said - The Local Offer is difficult to naviage and clunky.
We're listening - We are currently working with council colleagues and SEND Alliance Cumbria to make improvements on the Local Offer. SENDAC have recently completed a survey. We may ask for further feedback and ideas in the future.
Current improvements have included adding a Professional’s Hub so professionals can be:
reminded of deadlines.
find useful resources in one place, and
share relevant information with families.
We are also working on adding a ‘Getting Involved’ tile, which will feature information on:
how to provide feedback,
share your ideas for improvements, and
get involved with wider community events.
A ‘good to know’ section is also in development. It will share advice and information from parents and carers who have been through specific processes (such as applying for an Education, Health and Care Plan and getting a diagnosis etc.). This will give parents and carers the opportunity to share what they wish they had known earlier in the process; in the hope it will benefit other families.
We will keep parents and carers up to date on all Local Offer developments via our SEND Partnership Newsletter and Facebook page.
Please subscribe to our newsletter, please enter your email and select ‘children, families and schools’. In this section you will find ‘Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)’ and the SEND Partnership. Please subscribe to both.
You said - There is often a delay between being told your child has a diagnosis of Autism and the report being received. This is frustrating.
We're listening - We are working to address the time it takes to get reports produced and sent out to families. In the meantime, a one-page statement of diagnosis has been put into place which will go out to parents via email or letter as soon as the diagnosis is made.