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Livewell Southend / SEND Local Offer

SEND Peer Review

SEND peer review

The council asked the Local Government Association (LGA) to undertake an independent peer review into aspects of SEND and the Children with Disabilities team.   While SEND services are offered jointly by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), schools and other partners, the peer review specifically focussed on council-run aspects of the service.

The review took place between 23rd – 26th November 2021 and focussed upon four areas:

  1.   The progress made to address the remaining area of weakness from OFSTED/CQC, joint commissioning.
  2. The work of the Children With Disabilities service relating to thresholds of assessment
  3. Scrutiny of the process around and the relative performance of EHCP needs assessments.
  4. How the area has engaged with all families of children with SEND.

The LGA report and the draft action plan explaining what steps will be taken against the 15 recommendations, will be discussed at cabinet on Thursday 13 January 2022.

 Some of the strengths identified in the report include:

  • Leaders across all areas of education, health and social care want to create a joined-up, outward looking support offer to children with SEND and their families
  • There is strong partnership working with Southend SEND Independent Forum (SSIF), the local parent carer forum, who hold the council to account
  • There is a ‘strong, multi-agency Education Health Care Needs Assessment panel, with clear terms of reference and decisions are made following well-structured discussions’
  • Staff in the CWD team are child-centred and ‘clearly care about the children and families with whom they are working’

Some areas which need further work include:

  • Too many Education Health Care Needs Assessments have been refused
  • Parents of children with disabilities feel defensive because they are assessed through a ‘safeguarding’ lens, which they feel unfairly questions their ability as a parent
  • Parents and carers need ‘what happens next’ explained in a clear and understandable way, to make the ‘maze’ of SEND services easier to navigate
  • Some parents feel significant anger and distress at their lived experiences and lack of support, some of which are historic. Some also feel they have to ‘battle’ for services

 You can read the report in full, and the action plan that will be discussed by Cabinet on Thursday 13 January, on the council’s website.

You can also read a letter which has been sent to Parents and Carers by Michael Marks, the Executive Director for Children and Public Health Services at Southend Borough Council. This is on the right of this page,





 Last updated: 11 Jan 2022

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