Decision details

Lancashire Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Partnership - Draft Accelerated Progress Plan

Decision Maker: Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board - SEND Sub-Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No


To consider the draft Accelerated Progress Plan


Sarah Callaghan, Director of Education and Skills, Lancashire County Council, and Zoe Richards, SEND Partnership Improvement Lead, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, introduced the item.


Sarah Callaghan reported that the Lancashire local area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Services had been inspected by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in November 2017 to judge how effectively the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms had been implemented, as per the Children and Families Act 2014. 


The inspection identified twelve areas of significant concern and a subsequent inspection revisit was therefore undertaken in March 2020 to see if sufficient progress had been made in these twelve areas.  The second inspection revisit confirmed that sufficient progress had been made in seven of the twelve areas but that further work was required in the remaining five, which are noted below.


  Leaders had an inaccurate understanding of the local area;

  there were weak joint commissioning arrangements that were not well developed or evaluated;

  there was an absence of effective diagnostic pathways for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the local area and no diagnostic pathway in the north of the area;

  transition arrangements in 0-25 healthcare services were poor; and

  the local offer was inaccessible and the quality of information published was poor.


In view of this, a draft Accelerated Improvement Plan has been put together for Lancashire, which focusses on these five areas for improvement.  The Plan will be formally monitored, with progress reports being made to both the SEND Partnership Board and the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board, along with further reviews by the Department for Education and NHS England.  It was noted that the final working draft of the Plan must be submitted to the Department for Education and NHS England by 30 September 2020.


Sarah Callaghan and Zoe Richards summarised the Plan, talking about each area of concern individually and the key performance indictators that have been put in place to counter-act those issues.


In response to a query about best practice in developing the action plan and how service users have been engaged in this process, it was reported that service users sit on both the SEND Partnership Board and SEND Operational Group and rigorously challenge actions and progress and shape the development plans for the Accelerated Progress Plan.


In addition, engaging with service users had taken place by engagement co-production and co-delivery and was working very well.  With regard to overall improvement of the service, plans were in place to determine how engagement with service users can be further improved by using several different mechanisms; ie, undertaking surveys, having virtual meetings and by liaising with schools to ask children for their opinions on their experiences of services by incorporating this into lessons.  In terms of best practice with regard to Autism Spectrum Disorder, benchmarking had taken place with other areas and meetings have taken place with the newly established National Autism Team, who are keen to have a joint co-learning process.


With regard to improving the 0-25 transition in healthcare services, after liaising with regional and national colleagues with similar complexities, the advice received was to have an ICS vision that fits in with the preparing for adulthood approach and to have an ICP delivery mechanism that is monitored and delivered at a local level.  The North West Transition Lead is also providing support in preparing the project plan.


In response to a query on the definition of the SEND offer and representation of the needs of children and young people on the Parent/Carer Forum, it was stated that whilst the Accelerated Progress Plan focusses on the five areas of concern, it was equally important to continue to support the objectives of the broader SEND strategy.  It was felt that representation on the Parent/Carer Forum in terms of complexity and diversity of need is good, with different sets of parents sitting on the SEND Partnership Board and the SEND Operational Group.  In addition, separate groups are consulted for feedback and surveys are sent out to parents and carers. 


With regard to a question regarding the monitoring process and timescales of the local offer, it was confirmed that a tool has been developed and should be implemented by October 2020, which will enable parents/carers to share their views about the local offer and allow findings to be analysed by the whole Partnership.  It was reported that the post of the Local Offer Development Officer was currently being advertised and that this post-holder would further develop the local offer website as well as undertaking broader communication and engagement, allowing service users to find information in a range of ways that are both timely and easily accessible.


Several queries were raised on the key performance indicators, the responses to which are outlined below:


Key performance indicators need to be ambitious and realistic but targets need to be constantly reviewed to see if baselines are being met and, if targets are not sufficiently aspirational, then more challenging work should be done.


In terms of the range and span of parent/carer feedback, projects are in place to address this, ie POET survey, but consideration needs to be given to obtaining feedback in more different and innovative ways.  Young people sit on the SEND Partnership Board and have a strong involvement in meetings and, going forward, it was recently agreed that all reports presented to the SEND Partnership Board should include reference to how children and young people's lives will be improved in such a way that shows they have been consulted.  Additionally, work will be done to obtain feedback by way of case studies, which will identify both areas of success and those in need of improvement.


The Sub-Committee discussed the key performance indictor target where 75% of 14 year olds requiring transition are actually identified and given a transition plan and that clarity on identifying those individuals would be required. Following a short discussion around managing transition arrangements and identifying individual children and young people, it was stated that the project plan should be presented in the context of the existing position and that the commissioning gap should be properly managed and linked to the action plan.


In terms of completing and implementing the directory of services and the sequencing of dates, it was confirmed that the actions in the directory of services will remain under constant review whilst the impact of the local offer will continue to be monitored and extended, in parallel, as a more developed piece of work.


The following next steps were noted:


  The Accelerated Progress Plan be submitted to the Department for Education and NHS England by 30 September 2020;

  the Department for Education and NHS England would continue to monitor the five areas where insufficient progress has been made; and

  formal monitoring would take place within six months and twelve months, from 1 October 2020.




i.  The receipt of the report from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission following the joint inspection revisit be noted; and


ii.  the draft Accelerated Progress Plan which addresses the five areas of concern be considered and approved.

Report author: Sian Rees

Date of decision: 24/09/2020

Decided at meeting: 24/09/2020 - Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board - SEND Sub-Committee

Accompanying Documents: