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Frequently asked questions
What is a local offer?
A local offer should be a single place where you can find information, support and guidance on how to find and contact a service that may be of help to you and your family. It should contain information about the range of services available in your area, what they offer, and how you can contact them. You should also be able to find out what the processes are for accessing statutory services like therapy services, disabled children’s social care, early help, the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service and others. This information should be clear and easy to understand.
Government legislation states that all local authorities must produce a local offer detailing all service provision that it knows, and expects, to be available to children, young people, and their families with SEND aged 0-25 years. This must include health, education, and social care.
This must be published both electronically and via alternative methods to ensure accessibility to all those who may wish to use it.
How has our local offer been developed?
Several council service areas have been working closely together since summer 2013 to develop our local offer. This has included representatives from:
- Specialist schools
- Early Years team
- SEN team
- Therapy Services
- Shropshire's Clinical Commissioning Group
- Shropshire Community Health Trust
- Shropshire SENCo Network
- Parent carers represented by the Parent Partnership and Parent and Carer Council Shropshire
- Community Enablement Team
- Shropshire Youth IAG
- Educational Psychology Service
- Family Information Service
- Digital Services
We come together as a working group at least termly to discuss the management of the local offer resource, the development of the community engagement opportunities, and any other matters arising, such as reviewing data and identifying gaps in service areas. We also discuss feedback received from parent carers, professionals, and young people.
The range of SEND covered encompasses:
- Autistic spectrum disorder
- Cerebral palsy
- Challenging behaviour
- Downs syndrome
- Rare chromosomal disorders
- Sensory impairments
- Ocular impairments
- Renal failure
- Life-limiting disorders/syndromes
- Mental health issues including eating disorders and social anxieties
What makes our local offer different?
We're establishing a network of 'local offer champions' to support the ongoing development and regular review of the local offer, and to address the difficulties of providing a comprehensive service in a large rural county. Champions will be parent carers, people working within related SEND professions, young people with SEN or disabilities, and other members of the community who want to help in the improvement of the local offer in Shropshire.
What is the PACC?
The Parent and Carer Council (PACC), our local pan-disability parent carer forum, has been involved in the local offer from the very beginning. It's held workshops that have led to fundamental changes in our development processes, and produced surveys to generate feedback on general and specific subject matter to feed into the ongoing improvements being made.
It also works with smaller groups of parents, and parents individually, by getting out into the community to meet them and share the local offer. PACC develops links with smaller specialist forums, such as the Downs Syndrome Group, Friends of Severndale to widen our connections.
We're working with PACC, Children's Centre Services, and the Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS) to develop a small cluster of parent carers to become local offer champions, in line with the new legislation. This will form part of a rolling review process enabling us to identify areas that may require further support from the Local Offer team to improve accessibility of information and criteria documents.
How do we involve young people?
- Young people are represented at our working group by providers who work directly with them.
- We're developing links with forums or groups that specifically involve young people.
- We've met SEN pupils at several secondary schools in the county to gain feedback on the web services we've developed (this was achieved via Shropshire Youth IAG and provided valuable information).
- The Local Offer team also went on an away day where our Specialist Academy Sixth Form students from the Futures Project had an opportunity to engage with several services, offering us some great research into what services are accessed, and where these services could be developed further.
- We're working with the Youth Activities team to develop new opportunities to work with young people in their SEN youth groups across the county. This will hopefully feed into our local offer champions work, where we can ask about targeted work areas and generate new ideas to continually develop the local offer.
How will we develop our local offer?
As the local offer is an organic resource that will continue to develop, we plan to meet as a working group and get out into the community to engage more with users and providers. There's a desire to create community access to the local offer using existing services, such as children's centres and community hubs. We'll be working closely with the Independent Advice and Support Service (IASS) to develop and improve our links to the community, creating a wider variety of ways to access the local offer.
Can I create my own local offer?
As a service provider or support group, you may want to create your own local offer. We'd welcome this, and recommend that you start by looking at the information similar services have published. Having done so, if you're happy that you're a suitable service or provider, please contact our local offer coordinator via firstname.lastname@example.org
We'll discuss with you the criteria for registering your services, and support you in completing the administration required to upload your data. It's really simple and user friendly, taking just minutes to do. We'll also offer guidance on how you can make your service more accessible in line with related legislation, providing you with support and information on what families have told us makes choosing a service easier and more efficient.