HPCI – Herts Parent Carer Involvement – is a parent carer forum recognised by the Department for Education, Hertfordshire County Council, Herts and West Essex ICB as the parent carer forum for Hertfordshire. We began in 2010 and a summary of our activities across the last year (22/23) is available here.
A parent carer forum is a group of parents and carers of children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities) who work with education, health and social care services and providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of children/young people with SEND and their families. Parent Carer Forums are recognised in the SEND Code of Practice (CoP ref 1.13).
Parent Carer Forums exist across England (not Wales or Scotland) and in almost all local authority areas. Over 110,000 parent carers belong to Parent Carer Forums.
Parent Carer Forums are made up of parent carers with children and young people who have all types of SEND from the local area. HPCI covers all of Hertfordshire.
You can read more about these forums, how they work and the national picture for parent carer participation by going to Contact’s website.
HPCI is a CIC (Community Interest Company) and as such is a not for profit organisation. As a Company we don’t have a Constitution but rather Articles of Association.
HPCI is an involvement organisation and as such does the following:
We have a parent network of over 1,300 parent carers, a smaller group of around 30 parent carer representatives and an unpaid Board of Directors here who oversee the running of HPCI.
We also organise Involvement Partners which is made up of representatives from interested SEND support/voluntary groups in Hertfordshire who we communicate with regularly and hold twice yearly meetings with.
We also have five part-time employees:
Children and young people aged 0-25 years with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) reach their full potential and experience the same life choices as their peers who do not have SEND.
HPCI is a parent carer led organisation which represents the views and experiences of families in order to influence the development and improvement of services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (and their families) in Hertfordshire.
As part of the current funding arrangements with the Department of Education the Local Authority has agreed to the following memorandum of understanding (MOU) when working with the forum i.e. HPCI.
Parents and carers sometimes ask us why HPCI doesn’t actively campaign for such things as more funding for SEND.
HPCI is a parent carer forum funded in part by the Department for Education.
As part of our agreement with them we are unable to actively campaign. However, HPCI is free to send out information about SEND related campaigns or campaign groups.
As an organisation we will often share the same aims and goals as campaigners and can work alongside them towards achieving improvements in services and lives for our children and young people.
The directors oversee the running of HPCI and meet approximately 7 times a year. The role of director is unpaid.
HPCI’s directors have a wide range of views and experiences across different types of special needs and disabilities and also have links to other networks of parent carers.
You can find out more about HPCI’s directors here.
As a parent carer forum, our parent network comes from a wide range of backgrounds and their children have a wide range of SEND. Parents in our network also have a range of views about services and our parent representatives work to reflect those views in the work they do. To help our reps in their role, HPCI has drawn up position statements and policies on a range of topics. The Policies pages can be found here. And the Position Statements can be found here.
HPCI is a member of the Eastern Region of Parent Carer Forums (ERPCF). The Eastern Region covers 11 forums covering Peterborough, Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough, Luton, Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Suffolk, Norfolk, Southend, Essex and Thurrock. Two representatives from each forum meet 3 times a year and look at local and national developments. They are able to feedback to the regional representative of the NNPCF (National Network of Parent Carer Forums) and the Regional Adviser from national charity Contact.
There are two key national partners for HPCI.
NNPCF (National Network of Parent Carer Forums) was launched in 2011 and is made up of all the parent carer forums in England. It is funded by the Department of Education. The role of the NNPCF is to ensure strategic parent carer participation at a national level. NNPCF reps, who are all parent carers, work with a broad range of organisations which include: Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Work and Pensions, Department of Justice, the Council for Disabled Children, British Academy of Childhood Disability and many others. To find out more go to NNPCF
Contact is a national charity providing information, support and campaigning for families of disabled children. Contact is the national partner to the Department for Education and NNPCF for parent participation in England. They have regional advisors who support parent carer forums directly and they provide guidance, information and training for parent carer forums as well as gathering information about how forums have made a difference. Their parent participation information can be found at Contact