Special Educational Needs and Disability
Birmingham response to Ofsted and CQC joint local area SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities) inspection
A joint statement from Cllr Kate Booth, cabinet member for children’s wellbeing at Birmingham City Council and Dr Richard Mendelsohn, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG):
We are very disappointed with the findings of the recent inspection of special educational and disability needs services in Birmingham, which we fully accept. By working together in close partnership, we are committed to ensuring better support and outcomes for our local children and young people, who have special educational needs and disabilities.
The report has highlighted several areas of strong and positive practice; however, a number of significant improvements urgently need to be made. This work is being prioritised by all organisations involved, to ensure a clear focus on improving standards and addressing the concerns that have been identified.
In order to make the improvements required, we are very aware that there needs to be a fundamental change in how we work together, and also with children, their families and carers. We will do this by: engaging with the people who are already using the services, and working with them to co-produce the solutions with us, to ensure that they work for everyone; by ensuring more effective joint working between front line staff across the NHS, in education, and social care; and by addressing the difficulties that are currently being experienced with accessing the right local services, in a timely way.
We are absolutely clear that services need to improve significantly, and rapidly, so that children and young people in Birmingham have their needs met and are properly supported; this is to ensure that they can achieve their full academic potential and can lead fulfilling lives.
A joint action plan will be co-produced across professional agencies and also with our children, young people, their families and carers. This action plan will focus on a number of key priorities:
- Establishing forums and networks to enable us to better engage and co-produce with families.
- A review of our referral process, and access to education health and care plans (EHCP), to ensure we continue to meet the 20-week standard.
- Improved access to, and shorter waiting times, for therapies such as speech and language and neurodevelopmental assessment services.
- Thoroughly examining complaints about services, identifying where the problems are, and producing a ‘customer charter’ that will clearly set out what the service offer is.
- Carrying out a review of our workforce capability and skills, and developing a comprehensive training programme.
- Reviewing the education and health care plan (EHCP) process and make any necessary changes to ensure all agencies work effectively together.