Back in March 2011, the government Green Paper “Support and Aspiration” said improvement was needed to be made in the support that was given to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their families.
- The Green Paper was based on what parent carers wanted and one of the things proposed was that each local authority would set out a ‘local offer of support’- they must publish information about special education, health and social care provision. This information is to be known as the Local Offer.
- In July 2014 the government published its reforms in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice.
- Local authorities have a statutory duty to produce a Local Offer with parents/carers and other key partners (co-production).
- The Local Offer is seen as one of the key drivers for change – it has the potential to be a very powerful tool for children, young people and families.
“Local authorities must publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.”
The Local Offer has two key purposes:
- To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available.
- To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving children and young people with SEN, parents and carers, and service providers in its development and review.
The process of developing the local offer is intended to help local authorities to improve provision. The Local Offer is not simply a directory of existing services e.g. list of childminders, schools, activity clubs etc. as Action for Children’s WISA service and Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC) already provide this information which we link to. The Local Offer aims to become a single source of information for parents, carers, children and young people aged 0-25 years.
So what does this actually mean? We will publish, in one place:
- Information in relation to education, social care and health provision for children and young people (aged 0-25 years) with SEND.
- Arrangements of identifying and assessing children including how to request an assessment.
- Arrangements to travel to and from schools/Early Years providers.
- Support to help children and young people move between phases of education and to prepare for adulthood
- Where to go for sources of information, advice and support, forums for parents/carers, childcare and leisure activities
- Arrangements for making complaints, right to appeal.
We also work with providers to support children and young people with SEND across all levels of need/support.
It is crucial that the Local Offer is developed with children, young people and parent carers. By getting this right it will enable families to make informed choices and empower them.
The key element of the Local Offer is coproduction; sharing ideas and information; collaboration and clear communication; working together to improve understanding and awareness by highlighting what is available and how to access it.
The development of the Local Offer through coproduction establishes a sense of involvement, sharing of knowledge and expertise in a balanced approach helps to ensure key outcomes:
- Empowering parents/carers/young people with the accurate and relevant information.
- Accessibility of relevant information in a suitable format.
- A holistic approach – taking in to account the WHOLE person.
- A transparent approach with clear information with an explanation of processes and assessment criteria.
- Sustainability through a long-term approach, focusing on the needs from 0-25 and providing the support around this to ensure that the Local Offer is established.
- Realistic in acknowledging the challenges faced, the needs of all those involved, setting appropriate targets and ensuring suitable time-frames whilst managing expectations.
- Providing clear, consistent information in an appropriate manner. A reliable source of knowledge to improve understanding and confidence.
Your feedback is important to us. If you have a comment on the Local Offer or the website itself please email firstname.lastname@example.org . All feedback is published anonymously and can be viewed on our Local Offer response page.
Local Offer – Short Breaks Scheme
The Local Offer was historically the term used in Wiltshire for the additional funding grant. This is now known as the Short Breaks Scheme. For more information on the Short Breaks Scheme please click here.