HPCI Member Update 6 March 2023

Families may want to know that tomorrow (Tuesday 7th March) there is a meeting of the “Impact of Scrutiny Advisory Group”. This is a group of Hertfordshire councillors who are not part of the HCC Cabinet; they review the decisions that the council makes in order to hold the Cabinet to account.

In autumn 2022 the HCC “SEND Topic Group” published a report with a number of recommendations; during Tuesday’s meeting HCC will provide a progress update. The meeting starts at 10am and will cover several topics. SEND is expected to start from around 10:50am. To learn more, watch the meeting, find the agenda and read all the reports on the HCC website, click here.

HCC officers have submitted their written report in advance of the meeting. This update report covers progress on multiple issues including communication with families and meeting statutory requirements. It talks about the role of HPCI, as the parent carer forum representing families of children and young people with SEND.

The section on communications with families refers a lot to the communication between HPCI and the council. Whilst we agree that this is a vital relationship, the importance comes from our role (as the parent carer forum) in ensuring that Herts SEND services understand the views and lived experiences of the families we represent.

We believe that the most important aspect for HCC to get right is communication with every family that uses a Herts SEND service.  We will continue to make this point and work with the local authority to suggest improvements, as we know there is still a long way to go on this.

We would also like to comment on the section that says HPCI has a role in “approving social media posts”.  Our involvement has been to offer occasional advice, when requested, on whether the message and language would be understood by families. We do not have a role in approving HCC communications.

HPCI is not a campaign group. Our role is work alongside local partners to develop solutions to the problems that we face as families of children with SEND.  While we work alongside local partners, we are a fully independent organisation and our value is in both being able to challenge and support HCC and others.  We will continue to do this and represent our families as we seek to drive improvements for our children and young people.