This week’s update covers:
Contacting a SEND Officer
We are aware of the intense frustration that many of our members have experienced in trying to get hold of a SEND officer at HCC. While there are significant underlying issues around staffing which will need to be addressed to fully resolve this issue, HCC have recently put in place a system which has new area-based duty lines and also offers a call back consultation. This essentially means that, if the person you speak to is not able to answer your query, you can book in a call back from an officer at an agreed time slot. More details are available on the Local Offer website and we are keen to hear your feedback about how the new system beds in.
Welcome guidance on the delivery of specialist 1:1 and group interventions for children and young people in education settings
During lockdown, and in the months following, HPCI has heard from many families about difficulties in moving back to pre-pandemic access to therapies and other interventions in schools. We are therefore really pleased to see this new guidance which sets out the expectations for the delivery of specialist support for children and young people. More specifically it says that there should be full access to provision, what safety precautions should be considered, and how important it is to actively engage with families and carers. You can read the full guidance here and if you continue to experience issues with the delivery of these services in school and other education settings, please do let us know.
(More!) vaccine news
You will probably be aware that the government has now confirmed that all children aged 12 to 15 in the UK will be offered the Covid vaccine, in an effort to minimise disruption in schools linked to local surges of infection.
Members will also be interested to hear that unpaid carers, including parent carers, will be among the priority groups for the vaccine booster – just as they were in the initial roll-out. Latest guidance says that those eligible for a third vaccination include over-50s, younger adults with learning disabilities or underlying health conditions aged 16 to 49 years, frontline health and care workers, and unpaid adult carers.
SEND Strategy Community events and Local Offer webinar
These events give parent carers the opportunity to talk to advice, support and activity organisations, as well as find out about the new Herts SEND Strategy. The next event is taking place in Bushey next Wednesday – no need to book, just drop in.
HPCI is also running webinars to engage parents in the new strategy. We had the first of these this morning and it was great to have so many parents and carers asking questions of HCC officers and sharing with them the real-life experience of the Hertfordshire journey for families with a range of needs. There will be another event on 29 September, so if you have any burning questions or issues you’d like to put to officers, you can book here.
Parents and carers have also told us that they would like to know more about the Local Offer and how to use the website – we’re hosting HCC for a webinar next Friday, so they can tell us all about it. Book your free place here.
This service lends out sensory, practical and educational resources to Hertfordshire families who have a child or young person with additional needs. They have recently moved to Stevenage – more details can be found on their Facebook page or by emailing email@example.com
The SEND Commissioning Team would like to hear from parents/carers who have had experiences of requesting or receiving equipment for their child or young person with SEND. If that’s you, please take part by completing the short survey which is open until 1 October.
We’ve been asked by CAMHS to make our members aware of the following items – you can click on each to find out more.
And last, but by no means least, a cause for celebration
We always celebrate all that our reps do and achieve through their involvement work but it was fantastic to see one of our reps (and Directors) Renata have her involvement recognised in the HCT NHS Trust awards this week. I know many of you will be aware of the tireless effort that Renata puts in across many health workstreams but it was her central role in keeping children and families at the heart of the new care coordinator pilots that was recognised on this occasion. Very well deserved!
Thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend,
Kate Hudson HPCI Membership and Comms Officer