Family Voice response to Written Statement of Action
On 23 March 2017 Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) wrote to Surrey County Council (SCC) and the Surrey CCG Collaborative to say that their Written Statement of Action (WSA) submitted on the 10 March was deemed ‘fit for purpose’ in setting out how the Surrey local area will address the five significant areas of weakness cited in the published inspection report. They said the plan demonstrates a collaborative approach with a range of partners and holds children and families at its heart.
As required by Ofsted/ CQC, the WSA (‘the plan’) has been published by SCC on the Local Offer website, together with a background document, and on the six CCG websites, ‘so that parents, carers, children and young people can understand the actions taken to improve the effectiveness of the local area in identifying and meeting needs, and improving outcomes for children and young people who have special educational needs and/ or disabilities.’
Family Voice Surrey was consulted during the preparation of the plan and strongly promoted the idea that the identified weaknesses are best and most effectively addressed through an experience-based, restorative, bottom up approach: drawing on the needs, outcomes and experiences of SEND children, young people and families (see our ideas here).
In the event, the published plan consists of over 50 detailed actions to be implemented, mainly from April to June 2017, with monitoring of impact through to December 2017, and aimed at a significant step change in scale and pace of SEND transformation. Crucially, the plan does not stand in isolation but is strongly linked to the longer term SEND Development Plan – current horizon 2022, which also includes the SEND Commissioning Plan – determining and securing appropriate service provision.
There will be detailed oversight of the implementation and progress of the plan through:
DfE and CQC: through monthly reports
Children’s Services Improvement Board: chaired by the Deputy Leader of the Council and consisting of SCC Cabinet members/ officers, DfE improvement adviser and other statutory partners; quarterly
SEND Scrutiny Task Group: quarterly
SCC Cabinet Lead (elected councillor): monthly
SCC and CCG Leadership teams (officers) : monthly
SEND Partnership Board: lead SCC and CCG officers with schools, health providers and other partner representatives including Family Voice Surrey: bi-monthly
As we said in our press release after the Inspection, we are committed to working with SCC, the CCGs and others in the Local Area to accelerate the pace and scale of improvement for the SEND community through the WSA (and the SEND Development Plan including SEND commissioning): seeking to make SEND lives better faster.
We see this plan as only the starting point for the SEND transformation needed in Surrey. There is a lot of hard work to be done now. Each action needs detailed planning and implementation. Key is the work underway on setting and monitoring of the actions against meaningful performance measures based on the intended impact for SEND children, young people and families: setting out what success ‘will look and feel like’ and then establishing the extent to which that has been achieved.
Family Voice will:
as a member of the SEND Partnership Board look to ensure the voice of the SEND children, young people and families is central to the changes being made
seek a SEND family-friendly roll-out of the plan
argue for the impact for children, young people and families to be made explicit in the success criteria and for detailed performance measures to be rapidly agreed and implemented on this basis
participate where appropriate in the planned actions: in particular, encouraging Local Area partners to ‘Collaborate with families and engage in a wider group of families in the planning and evaluation of our services’, aimed at widening participation and representation of parent carers at individual and strategic levels
monitor progress and performance of the plan, to judge whether scale and pace are maintained and seeking improvements wherever possible and seamless transition into the SEND Development Plan
seek feedback from SEND families on changes they are experiencing as a result of the actions for use in taking the plan forward
promote the need for communications with SEND families on what is proposed and why, what is happening, what the impacts are – reporting and celebrating success or recognising and modifying poor performance
promote the vital importance of seeking communications back from the SEND community on needs, outcomes, changes seen or unintended consequences or integration and improvement opportunities seen.
Here is how you can help:
send us your thoughts on experience based performance measures and information gathering
send us your thoughts on communications/ information you feel is needed
provide feedback on any SEND service changes and impacts you are experiencing
volunteer to assist in Family Voice Surrey’ s work activities
Please get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org