PACC Response to Shropshire SEND Inspection Report
As many of you know PACC have been funded by the Department for Education since 2007 to promote and support parent carer participation throughout the Shropshire Local Authority area. Our key focus has always been on providing parent carers a voice in local decision making, policy and service development, and wherever there is an opportunity to improve outcomes for our families. Between 27th and 31st January 2020, Shropshire Local Authority and Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group were inspected as part of the Local Joint Area SEND Inspection process looking at the effectiveness of SEND services across the area.
During the inspection week there were many opportunities (ranging from face to face session with inspectors to a webinar and survey) for parent carers to share their experiences of SEND services, as well as opportunities for PACC to represent our communities experiences of the strategic effectiveness of services across health, education, and social care. We were blown away by the amount of feedback families shared with us and inspectors during the inspection week. We are also really pleased to see that the inspection outcome letter highlights how well families have spoken about the support and participation networks available to them in Shropshire, which includes PACC, IASS, and Autism West Midlands who are specifically named.
Throughout the inspection PACC highlighted many areas of concern, which you can read in more detail in our ‘State of SEND’ report published in early January 2020.
Our key points included:
- The right support at the right time
- Good quality and accessible information
- Families being listened to and valued
- Raising aspirations and promoting independence
We also made it clear that engagement from Health partners was lacking in quality and consistency across strategic engagement and equally on an individual level for families. We raised concerns about the access to Social Care process being complicated and thresholds being too high for many families to access help when they need it most. And we identified that progress has been made particularly in the ongoing improvements in the SEN teams’ approach to EHCP development and review, and with the Local Offer.
We are really pleased to see the inspection identified Health engagement as an area of concern with the report highlighting a “lack of cohesive partnership working” and a poor focus on SEND in this area. They also identified the lack of effective assessment pathway for children with ASD aged 5 and over, as well as concerns around the Speech and Language provision, with waiting list being too long and the offer needing review. High SEND exclusion numbers were also raised as a concern, alongside parent carers identifying the mental health, emotional, and wellbeing service as an area they were not happy with.
The inspection noted some positive feedback about action being taken to improve the BeeU service and the Early Years offer being strong and very appreciated by families and professionals alike. Shropshire’s supported internship program has been identified as a positive step forward in provision for those working towards employment. Short breaks are seen to have a strong focus on preparing for adulthood. The Inspection also praised the academic progress made by children with EHC plans and said most vulnerable children with additional needs "achieve positive outcomes".
Crucially the outcome of the inspection is that Shropshire LA and CCG have been requested to produce a Written Statement of Action addressing 6 key areas:
- Inconsistent strategic leadership and weak strategic planning across the area, most notably in the CCG, including the ineffective use of data to accurately commission and plan services
- The lack of inclusion of health services’ input into the area’s SEND action plan
- Significant waiting times for large numbers of children and young people on the ASD and ADHD diagnostic pathways
- Significant waiting times for those needing assessment and treatment from the speech and language therapy service
- Inconsistency in the quality of input from education, health and care into EHC assessment and planning
- The high rate of exclusions for children and young people with an EHC plan and the high rate of repeat fixed-term exclusions for those receiving SEND support
PACC welcomes the Written Statement of Action and sees this as an opportunity to continue and improve coproduction and engagement with SEND families. We have developed strong and successful relationships with some key partners and staff within the LA and CCG and look forward to working with new partners and developing new relationships to continue building effective support and service pathways and improving SEND outcomes for our families.
What happens next?
Shropshire LA and CCG have 70 days (with flexibility due to coronavirus where appropriate) to develop a draft action plan responding to the key points identified in the outcome letter. It is expected that PACC will be a part of the development of this plan to ensure strategic parent carer coproduction informs the plan appropriately. The LA and CCG nominated officers will meet with DfE and NHS England Improvement officers to discuss this process and to review progress against the Written Statement of Action Plan over the following 12 months with a SEND Inspection Revisit anticipated within 12-18 months. This will review progress and determine if the Written Statement of Action should be continued or withdrawn. PACC anticipates involvement throughout this process to support the LA and CCG to ensure the needs of Shropshire SEND families are at the heart of all actions taken.
PACC will continue to focus on our key concerns throughout this process, irrespective of whether they feature in the action plan or not as the needs of the community we represent will change over time, and while this is an extremely important process, it must not distract us from continuing to improve all services and improving outcomes for all young people and children with SEND in Shropshire.
We need to say a huge thank you to all of the parent carers who, over the years and throughout the inspection, have contributed to the feedback we can provide, shared experiences to help us understand the challenges, barriers and successes of services, and helped us to shape a better future for SEND families across Shropshire. The inspectors heard and valued everything you shared with them, and that is reflected within the outcome letter. We can’t achieve any of this without your input, so thank you very much for contributing your precious time and energy to making Shropshire a better place for SEND families.< Back to News List