Difolco presented the item.
In response to
questions from the Board, the meeting heard that:
The Parent-Carer forum was functioning very well. It
had originally started with under 10 members and now the forum was
now closer to 60 members. A steering group had been established and
a chair and vice-chair was in place. There was a drive to ensure
that the group was inclusive and diverse including a range of
special needs and disabilities. An engagement plan was being
A 52 week wait for an autism assessment
was too long and it was something professionals were conscious of
going into the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
inspection and was something that had arisen from the parent- carer
feedback. It was, however, an improvement from a maximum of a 85
week wait for children who were 11 years and older. A recurrent
investment was going into the area and would help meet the demand.
There would be a commitment of a maximum of 40 week average and 52
week wait for those aged 0 to 18.
The workshop has been held and the feedback was that
further support and communication was required. So work was being
done with SEND DS and providers so that service users would be
aware of the process in general.
It was important to note that there were various
other services that were in place to support children with Special
Educational Needs was under considerable strain. Speech and
language therapy, physiotherapy and school nursing services were
amongst the services that were provided. Therefore, it was
important to recognise that the commitment to the children in local
schools had good level of ambition, but community services
generally were under strain. There was also a shortage of staff,
many of whom were working at full capacity.
The SEND inspection was fair and accurate. The
effort and the amount of work completed in order to make progress
in the service was considerable. The service had improved in the
last three months. The written statement of action had actions
which had been taken. The work with health specialists and the CCG
coming forward with more money for autism assessment was long
overdue. A parallel review of Early Years was being completed and
it was important to campaign with the government for more
The relationship with the Parent-Carer forum had
improved. Various people were involved with meetings of the SEND
executives in the sub-groups. The Chair of Parent-carer forum was a
member of SEND executive.
The Steering Group had informed that they were
pleased with the progress and felt that they were engaged.
Approximately £800,000 worth of funding had gone into the
SEND service, including increasing educational psychology
resources, quality assurance and Educational Health and Care
In relation to the three written statement of action
areas; one of which was preparing for adulthood, it was important
to note that what happened in the early years of development would
For about six months, teams that had been doing
autism assessments had brought additional people to provide
assessments and hospitals had been looking at ways to assist one
another. There had also been use of online assessments and work was
being done to reduce backlog. Where there was insufficient capacity
to meet demand, there needed to be a redress of the balance on an
ongoing basis and there would be some more resource to allow the
borough to meet demand at an improved level. However, as it was a
growing population it would be difficult to meet demand
stated that the issue of addressing various community services in
the borough and a further update on the item would be brought
forward to a future meeting of the Health and Wellbeing
contents of the report be noted.