HPCI Member Update 10 February 2023

This edition of the HPCI update is focussing on the results of the annual survey that we recently ran – what families told us and how we are using the information.  We had 1,140 responses and we are truly grateful for the time and efforts that families took to share their views and experiences.

What did we learn?

  • There are clear levels of dissatisfaction with many services and concerns about the outcomes that are delivered for children and young people.
  • Families were generally positive about how education settings identify and understand their child or young person’s needs.
  • The Education, Health and Care Plan process and SEN officers have been identified as key areas for improvement, as have mental health support (CAMHS / PALMS) and Therapies.
  • There are consistent themes throughout responses on all services:
    • Concern about waiting times – for both assessment/diagnosis, and also support/treatment.
    • Poor communications from services, and between services.
    • Inconsistency in meeting need.
  • Many families don’t know where to go for support.

How can I find out more about the results?

If you want to see a report with all the headline findings, as well as links to the background data, you can access these on our website here.

What will HPCI do with the findings?

  • We will use the data to inform our ongoing discussions with SEND services across Hertfordshire.
  • The responses will help us set our priorities for co-production work, or where to focus smaller future topic-specific surveys.
  • We will use the info provided by families when Hertfordshire is next inspected and we are able to feedback on your behalf, to Ofsted/CQC inspectors.
  • We will also draw on the feedback about HPCI itself, to help us understand how we can best represent Hertfordshire parent/carers of children and young people with SEND.

How has HPCI used the information so far?

We have presented our finding to the Hertfordshire SEND and Inclusion Board so that those working at senior levels across all SEND areas are aware of the views of families.

We have also used it to support discussions on specific topics.  Last month, an HPCI rep and representatives from SEND Crisis Herts met with County Councillors and Hero Slinn (the Director for Inclusion and Skills for HCC) to discuss progress following last year’s SEND Crisis Herts survey about communication with the Statutory SEND team at HCC.

Hero Slinn took us through the council’s plan to address the issues raised in the survey report, that were also highlighted in the HPCI survey.
We discussed:

  • last year’s changes to the Statutory SEND team to cope with the higher numbers of EHCPs,
  • the new panel process for agreeing places in special schools or bases,
  • new processes for checking the quality of EHCPs,
  • progress in opening new special schools and bases, and
  • what is happening to improve other parts of the system.

It was helpful to be able to explain the issues and their impact on our families directly to County Councillors, and to talk about how we can work together to improve things. SEND Crisis Herts are running their survey again at the moment to see if the improvements are being felt by parents and schools yet, and we plan to meet again next term with them and HCC.  If you want to complete their new survey, it is open until 13 February and the link is: https://forms.gle/5WwQjr9RuDp7duVo7

I hope that you have found this update helpful – we were really grateful for such a great response to our first annual survey and it has given us some really powerful information to use in our conversations with those who make decisions about Herts SEND services.