Plans to bring about promised improvements to services for children and young people with special educational needs (SEND) were given approval at last night’s cabinet (Wednesday September 11).
Members were asked to note the progress being made by the council and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in preparing a joint action plan known as a written statement of action to Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), following an inspection of SEND provision in Dudley earlier this year.
The two organisations pledged to make a difference after the inspection and subsequent report identified areas for improvement in service areas.
In the last few months, they have been working together to create a written statement of action, which will set out how rapid improvements will be made. This will be developed into a full transformation plan for SEND in Dudley, designed to ensure children and young people are able to achieve their full potential.
It currently identifies five key areas, including developing the Dudley SEND strategy, improving how well children and young people with SEND are identified, improving the quality and reducing the time it takes to prepare education, health and care plans (EHCP), commissioning services which meet the needs of local children and young people, and improving outcomes.
Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member for children’s services, said:
Our aim is that all children and young people in Dudley borough reach their full potential and this is fundamental to the services we deliver.
The Ofsted report has helped us clarify our action plan, which we are developing with our schools and heath colleagues.
With the joint written statement of action, this is a positive way forward for us to support our children and young people.
Paul Maubach, chief executive officer, for Dudley CCG, said:
We know that every child or young person deserves the very best support.
We have taken the inspection findings earlier this year very seriously. We have been working with the council and partners across health and care to improve the support for our borough’s children and their families by addressing the issues identified in the report.
Following the inspection in May, inspectors from Ofsted and the CQC highlighted a number of areas of strength in the SEND provision including early support for families that they receive from a range of services and also specifically aspects of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS); sensory support services; emotional health of children who are looked after service (Dudley Lighthouse Links) and many more.
The report acknowledged that the council had already identified its own areas of weakness and services fall below its own high standards. It found the refreshed leadership team, which was put into place last year, has focused on improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND and that the local authority and CCG have identified the correct priorities for an action plan.
Dudley Council also pledged an additional £330,000 to recruit additional staff to the SEND team, assigning them as case workers to specific families to ensure continuity and bespoke support for individual families.
The written statement of action must be submitted by October 15.