Independent review to be held into SEND care in Suffolk
An independent review is to be held looking into how SEND care is carried out in Suffolk.
The review will look at how parents and carers are communicated with regarding their child's special educational and disability needs.
The review will be carried out by a senior professional with no links to Suffolk's current SEND provision and will focus on the 'processes, communication protocols and family-facing elements' of SEND services within Suffolk County Council.
The review will ascertain whether systems currently in place are good enough.
Cllr Rachel Hood, Suffolk County Council’s newly-appointed cabinet member for education, SEND and skills, said: “I know that every parent and carer wants the best for their children, especially when it comes to education and care.
"Suffolk County Council want the same and must strive to provide the very best services we can.
“The findings of this immediate independent review will help us to understand our strengths and weaknesses and identify any changes that need to be made.
"We are approaching matters with an open mind and with the best interests of children, their parents and carers at heart.
“The way in which SEND provision is delivered with our partners has improved significantly over the last 18 months, but we must always work to improve what we do, especially when we are faced with increasing demand for special educational support.
“I am newly appointed to this Suffolk County Council cabinet portfolio and am determined to build on the progress that has already been made.
"It is important to recognise that significant reform and improvement has taken place recently and that further improvements can take time, but SEND provision is one of our main priorities for this year.
"This urgent review will build on existing achievement, and offer insight for further improvement.”
Details of who is to carry out the review, and how long it might take, are to be confirmed.
The specific scope of the review is also being finalised, but is expected to look at: The effective flow of cases, communication with young people and families, processes for dealing with incoming enquires from young people and families in a timely manner, a focus on the family-facing elements of the service and the allocation of provision and, where appropriate, placement in a timely way for children
Anne Humphrys, Co-Chair of Suffolk Parent Carer Network, said: “We know that many families still experience frustration with a system that doesn’t always respond to the needs of their children and young people.
"SPCN welcomes the independent review following our feedback about how families’ experience services.
“We hope it will result in change that improves the lived experience of families.”
In Suffolk nearly 18,000 young people are supported in some way through local SEND services, including 5,900 with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) or those receiving support in education settings.
Demand has grown very significantly in the last seven years.
Prior to the 2014 national SEND reforms, Suffolk held around 3,000 statements of SEND.