SEND (Local Offer)
The Children and Families Act was passed in March 2014 and makes wide ranging reforms to services for children and young people, including services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The Act must be implemented from September 2014. A new code of practice has also been drafted to provide guidance to local authorities and their partners, including schools. The Local Offer is one of the new requirements of this Act.
In brief, the Act aims to achieve the following:
A new joint, multi-agency approach to statutory assessment and care planning, with existing statements of SEN replaced with joint multi-agency Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans). This will streamline services and ensure families do not have to ‘tell their stories’ multiple times. It will also be quicker, with only 20 weeks for the new process, instead of the current 26 weeks.
More personalisation of services, including personal budgets. Families with the new EHC Plans will have more input into decisions about the services they access and how the budget associated with their EHC Plan is spent. This could include families choosing to receive and manage the budget themselves.
Better information about what services are available and how families can access them, published in a ‘Local Offer’ of information. This will empower families to know what they are entitled to access and make choices to meet their individual needs.
This guidance focuses on the Local Offer. Families can email email@example.com for factsheets for schools on EHC Plans and personal budgets.