HPCI Member update 15 March 2024

This week’s update has a focus on how we gather feedback and how we use it.  We will be covering the findings from the 2023 HPCI survey, as well as the information shared with us by our partners in the voluntary and community sector.

There is also information about:

  • Changes to Short Break Local Offer (SBLO)
  • Webinar recording and resources: Autism in Schools
  • Request for views: Emotionally Based School Absence
  • Event: SEND Law Q&A with Michael Charles (1 May, Bushey)
  • New group: Herts Music Service Inclusive Choir

Feedback from families and those who support them

At the end of last year, a whopping 931 of you were kind enough to take the time to share your views on services for children and young people with SEND in Herts.  A summary of the findings can now be found here.  The results show clear levels of dissatisfaction, with concerns including waiting times, poor communications, and inconsistency in meeting need.  We have shared not only the headlines with local partners but also more detailed analysis with specific services to help them with their improvement work.

We have also shared feedback from our Involvement Partners group of advice, support and campaign organisations who work with families across the county.  You can find more information about this group and what they are most concerned about on our website here.  We have shared these views with the Director of Children’s Services, and HCC took the decision to share the list of prioritised concerns with the new SEND Priority Executive Board, which is the most senior SEND governance board in Hertfordshire. This led to a discussion at that meeting about how to make sure that changes made now, bring improvements that can be maintained in the future.

This feedback, plus the clear message from the Ofsted / CQC inspection last year, has helped bring a greater focus than ever before to SEND in Hertfordshire. We were pleased to see that the HCC Cabinet recently approved an extra £2m of ongoing investment into SEND and Inclusion (on top of the additional £5m that was approved prior to the inspection last year).   And we have also been pleased to note that the process of recruiting new frontline staff who will be responsible for managing EHCPs is moving on, with over 50 new staff on board so far and almost 100 appointed in total.  You can find out more about the local partnership’s plans to improve SEND here.

As ever, what matters is the impact that this work and investment has on improving the experiences and outcomes for our children and young people.  We will keep sharing your feedback and views, and working with organisations across the local partnership, so that works stays focused on what matters most.

Changes to Short Break Local Offer (SBLO)

Families whose child accesses activities or clubs via the SBLO scheme should all have received an update recently about some changes to the service.  If you haven’t received this letter, you can find the update information on the Local Offer website.  If you have any questions or concerns about the changes, you can email: sblo@hertfordshire.gov.uk or send your feedback to us and we can pass this on anonymously.

Webinar recording and resources: Autism in Schools

Earlier this week, HPCI hosted hosting an online webinar especially for parents and carers to hear all about the Autism in Schools pilot project, which has been running in Hertfordshire for the last three years.

It was a fantastic event – over 300 people signed up to find out about the project and heard from a wide range of speakers about how their organisations work to support or provide activities for autistic children and young people, and their families.  A link to the recording, the slides and contact details for the organisations represented is available on our website here.

Request for views: Emotionally Based School Absence

HPCI has representatives who meet regularly with services that deliver mental health provision for children and young people in Hertfordshire. At the next meeting they will be discussing Emotionally Based School Absence (EBSA) and we would love to hear from parents who have any questions, comments or concerns that they would like us to pass onto the Educational Psychology team and / or the Access, Inclusion & Alternative Provision team about how families are supported when their child is struggling to attend school due to EBSA.

If you have anything you would like us to raise, you can reply to this email – we need to receive comments before 11 April in order to be able to take them to the meeting.

Event: SEND Law Q&A with Michael Charles (1 May 2024, 18:00 – 20:00 in Bushey)

Michael Charles (CEO of Sinclair’s Law) will be speaking about SEND law at this event organised by SEND National Crisis Hertfordshire.   You can find out more and buy tickets here. [Please note the change of date to 1 May]

New group: Herts Music Service Inclusive Choir

Herts Music Service are setting up a new choir for anyone Year 5, 6 and secondary age, with a focus on giving a voice to those with SEN and complex needs. There is a free taster session on Friday 15 March 2024 (5.00pm – 6.00pm) – further information about the choir can be found here.

Thanks very much for reading this update – any queries or feedback, please let us know.