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Progress on Surrey SEND Written Statement of Action & Issues arising from inspection of Children

Progress on Surrey SEND Written Statement of Action

In December 2017, the then Minister covering SEND, Robert Goodwill, sent a letter to Surrey CC and health partners about progress made against the Written Statement of Action (WSA) agreed in mid- 2017 after the October 2016 Ofsted/ CQC inspection of SEND services.

While commending progress made in some areas, particularly in transferring Statements across to ECH plans, he asked for monitoring to be extended into 2018, with a report to be made in June on further progress, including EHC plan improvements, early identification of need and reducing exclusions, and seeking a focus on improving the lived experience of children, young people and their parent carers. SCC has submitted a report and is awaiting response from DfE.

In a recent speech, the Secretary of State, Damian Hinds, made it clear the local area SEND inspections regime set up in 2014 will continue beyond the current 2021 – ending round: and that he was seeking Ofsted and Care Quality Commission advice on further inspection or monitoring of those areas required to produce a WSA.

We welcome this continuation of the SEND inspection regime and Surrey WSA monitoring, recognising the focus they bring to the local area and the improvements they can drive in the county.

We expect to join in the Surrey WSA monitoring meetings from September 2018.

Issues arising from inspection of Children’s Services in Early 2018

A re-inspection in February – March of Surrey CC’s Children’s Services by Ofsted, that is, services for our most vulnerable, covering children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers, rated the services overall as ‘inadequate’ (see report published in May on the Ofsted website): although adoption performance was rated ‘Good’. This follows on from the 2014 inspection which found that services to protect and help children were very poor and required improvement measures to be taken and DfE monitoring put in place.

This continued ‘inadequate’ service is of major concern to FVS, not least since children and young people with SEND form a significant percentage, perhaps a majority, of these groups.

While leaving no doubt as to the impact of the scale and depth of the poor services on children, young people and families, and the extent of the transformation required, Ofsted did report that ‘Very recently the leaders, managers and elected members have grasped the scale of improvement needed through an honest acceptance of the depth of practice shortcomings and a concerted focus on improving children’s experiences and outcomes” and acknowledged recent changes by saying “ the likelihood of long overdue improvements gaining the necessary momentum is greater now than at any point since the 2014 inspection.”

Changes in SCC managers leadership underway at the time of the Ofsted inspection and reporting, bringing in direct experience of transforming services from ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’, have been underway since April, as described in other posts. This gives reason to hope for quick and effective change: we also hope that this time round, Family Voice Surrey will be involved in the planning and delivery of the service change programme, both at strategic and operational levels, ensuring children, young people and family needs are at the heart of the services.

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