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Livewell Southend / SEND Local Offer

I am a parent or carer

Welcome to the Southend SEND Local Offer. The Local Offer provides information on services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) aged 0 to 25. 

On this page we have brought together information relating to questions often asked by parents and carers.

You can also search for information by using the keyword search bar at the top of the page, or by clicking on the topics boxes in the `I am looking for' section on the Local Offer home page

We want the Local Offer to be as useful as possible. If you can't find what you need, if something is missing, or if you need information in another format, email us at or phone 01702 212328. 

I am concerned about my child's progress - what should I do?

The pages below provide information and guidance:

Guides are available for families with children or young people with suspected or diagnosed neurodevelopmental conditions (including Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia):

Southend’s Family Resource Guide to your neurodevelopmental journey

The Essex Joint Commissioning Group commissioned Essex Family Forum (EFF), the designated Parent Carer Forum for Essex, to co-produce a Neurodevelopment Family Resource Pack along with two local charities - SEND the Right Message and Takiwatanga.

The neurodevelopmental pathway for children and young people in Southend, Castle Point and Rochford is provided by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) as part of the Lighthouse Child Development Centre. The service is delivered by a team of professionals who can assess and diagnose neurodevelopmental conditions including:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder/Condition (ASD/C)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from the age of 6 years.
  • Tics and Tourette’s
  • Dyspraxia (as a co-occurring disorder).

A new referral process launched in January 2023. Any professional from health, education or social care can refer onto the pathway.

If parent carers have concerns about their child’s development, please discuss this with your child’s education setting in the first instance. For very young children, speak to your Health Visitor.

Further information about the pathway can be found on the EPUT website.

I am concerned about my child's health - what should I do?

Please read our guidance here: 

I am concerned about my child's health

Southend's Family Resource guide has been written for families with children or young people with suspected or diagnosed neurodevelopmental conditions. It contains information on all things neurodevelopmental (ND), to help families understand the different ND conditions which include, Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia.

Southend’s Family Resource - Guide to your neurodevelopmental journey

Please, also read Essex Neurodevelopment Family Resource Pack.

You may also find a guide called 'Children's Health Matters' useful. 

Where can I get support for myself as a parent or carer?

It is important that you look after your own needs as a parent or carer. 

Carers support/assessment: 

If you care for someone and need support you can request a carers assessment from the social care team at the council. You are entitled to an assessment regardless of the amount or type of care you provide and the assessment is not dependent on your financial means. Some people are worried about contacting social care, but please do not worry - the team are there to help. 

To get a carers support/assessment if you care for an adult (18 years plus) - call 01702 215008 or email and write ‘Adult Social Services’ in the message.

If you care for a child (up to 18 years) - call 01702 215007 or email first contact referrals and write ‘Children’s Social Services’ in the message.

Carers support organisations:

Carers First provide support, information, help and advice for unpaid carers aged 18 plus who are supporting someone in Southend. Find out more here: Carers First websiteSouthend Carers also provide support. 

Support is also available for young carers aged under 18. 

Looking after yourself as a carer:

You may find these resources helpful - advice and information from Carers First. Self-Care for parents and carers from the Anna Freud Centre

The Southend ND Guide and the Supporting Your Neurodiverse Child guide also have some helpful information. 

Meeting other parent carers and support groups:

Talking to other parent carers of children with SEND can really help. There are a number of organisations and groups in the local area, some of which are focused on particular areas of need, but others are more general. See the `How can I get in touch with other parents or carers' section for further information. Some groups run training for parent carers. There are also a number of national support organisations. 

Southend Family Centres offer a warm welcome for all, providing a range of services and support. For parent carers of children with SEND aged up to 12, there is the the Triple P Stepping Stones course. You can find out about it here: Stepping Stones Triple P | Livewell Southend

Early Help Support Service and the Children with Disabilities Team:

Both of these teams sit within the council. You can find out more in the specific sections on this page. 

Listening Ear Service - Contact:

Contact provide one to one telephone appointments for parent carers wanting emotional support. Find out more here: Listening Ear | Contact

Families of children under 5:

If your child is under 5 you may be able to get support from the Early Years SEND Support Service in the Southend Council SEND Team. The team also run a Play and Development Group for under 5's with SEND and the Southend Early Autism Support (SEAS) course

You may also be eligible for support from A Better Start Southend Family Support Workers for social communication needs

How can I get in touch with other parents or carers?

Southend SEND Independent Forum (SSIF) logo

Southend SEND Independent Forum (SSIF) are the official Parent Carer Forum for SEND families in Southend.

SSIF are a part of the Southend SEND Partnership, working with the Council, NHS and other partners to represent the voice of parents, carers and their children.

You can contact them on southendsendindependent

You can find information about other support groups at this link. The groups listed on the page can be filtered by their location and also by the conditions they support:

Other support groups for parents and carers

Early Help Support Service

The Early Help Support Service work with families to help them make changes they would like to reduce family stress and increase the chances of them achieving their goals.

The team provides children and families with the assistance they require when their needs cannot be met by universal services and can offer support in the following the areas:

  • Parenting advice and guidance
  • Attending and achieving in school and in early years
  • Financial stability and accessing work
  • Access to community services
  • Better family relationships
  • Support to move on from Domestic Abuse
  • Advice and guidance on substance misuse and offending behaviours and help to access the right support.
  • Advice and guidance to assist with emotional and physical health needs

A referral to the Early Help Support Service is made by completing an Early Help Family Support Assessment (EHFSA) referral. This can be completed by a professional with your input, or you can contact the Early Help Support Service to discuss your concerns. The Early Help duty worker may complete a self referral with you on the telephone or make other recommendations to you. 

The EHFSA is a family assessment and will consider all members of the family, considering what is going well for all of you, and helping to identify what extra support you may need. This will help to identify the best service to support you.

The Early Help Team can be contacted on

Find out more about the service here: Early Help Support Service - information for families 

Children with Disabilities Team

Social Care services for children and young people with disabilities in Southend are provided by the Children with Disabilities Team. Eligibility Criteria can be viewed here

You can find information about the team and the support provided here: Children with Disabilities Team Service Overview 

For referrals to the team please contact MASH+ on 01702 215007.

Services within the Southend SEND Team

The SEND Team at Southend Council is made up of a number of services. You can find out more here: Southend SEND Team 

What is an Education, Health and Care Plan and how do I request an assessment for my child?

The pages below provide provide information on Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP), Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment and SEN Support in Southend.

SEND Support in Southend - Guide for parents, children, young people and professionals

SEN Support

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

Education, Health and Care Plans

If you have a query regarding EHCPs or the EHC Needs Assessment process the SEND team can be contacted on or on 01702 215246.

What is a Personal Budget?

Where can I get independent advice and support?

SENDIASS Southend are the Special Educational Needs and Disabiliities Information, Advice and Support Service for families in Southend. 

SENDIASS Southend ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parent carers have access to impartial information, advice and support so that they can make informed decisions about matters relating to their special educational needs. 

You can find out more about the service through their website

Where can I get help with respite care?

Short Breaks are fun, interesting and safe activities for children and young people with disabilities. Short Breaks benefit both disabled children and their parents/carers:

  • children benefit from new interests, relationships and activities
  • parents can attend to their physical and mental wellbeing and maintain and develop social networks

Find out more about Short Breaks here: Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People or contact Childrens Social Care on 01702 215007 or email 

You may also find this information about Direct Payments useful: Children with Disabilities - Direct Payments

Where can I get specialist equipment or toys?

How do I raise a concern, complaint or pass on a compliment?

The process will depend on what you are concerned about or wish to complain about, or wish to share a compliment about. 

In the first instance, speak to the organisation or team that your feedback relates to.

The complaints by subject page on the Southend City Council has details of the complaints process for schools, children's social care, adult social care, compliments and the Councillors code of conduct. 

Please also see the following advice pages. 

Complaints process - schools

Social Care Complaints Advice

Complaints about NHS health services

How can I get involved in reviewing and designing SEND services or give feedback?

Southend SEND Independent Forum (SSIF) logo

Please contact the Southend Council SEND Local Offer Team on 01702 212328 or email us at to find out how to provide feedback on services or support or to get involved in reviewing and designing services.

You can also contact the Southend SEND Independent Forum (SSIF), the offical Parent Carer Forum for Southend families by email at:

What is the EHC Hub?

The EHC Hub is a digital platform for families, professionals and education settings to engage, contribute and collaborate on EHC assessments, Education Health and Care Plans and Annual Reviews.

The EHC Hub allows parents/carers to track their child/young person’s assessment and see who has been asked to provide advice.

The EHC Hub will ensure that parents/carers and anyone working with the child/Young person has access to the same information, at the same time, reducing the need or information to be repeated.

Read more about the EHC Hub and view user videos.

How do I get transport to school for my child or young person?

Where can I find activities?

View the events and activities section for details of things to do in the local area. 

We also regularly share information about activities on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Where can I find details of education settings?

The Local Offer and Livewell directory have information on education settings. Click on the links below to find listings of the type of education setting you are looking for.

Alternatively, you can search from the Early Years and Education section

Early Years settings: 

Primary Schools

Secondary Schools

Special Schools

Independent Schools



You can also find information about Alternative Education Providers

How can I get information and advice to help my child or young person prepare for adulthood?

On the SEND Local Offer we have a preparing for adulthood section.

There is also a Preparing for Adulthood Team at the council. 

How can I get information about and support with finance and benefits?

The money, housing and legal section of the SEND Local Offer has information about a range of issues including finance and benefits advice; and lists organisations that are able to provide support. 

You can also find information about Carers Allowance on GOV.UK

You may also be interested in finding out about Direct Payments

Where can I find information about Short Breaks?

You can find details of Short Breaks here:

Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People 

Books and resources you may find helpful

Local parent carers of children with SEND have kindly shared book recommendations with us, books that they have personally found useful for their children and young people, family members or themselves.

You can view the book recommendations here

LGBTQIA+ information

Here you will find details of local and national organisations supporting the LGBTQIA +community: LGBTQIA+ information

 Last updated: 24 Mar 2023

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