created by SPS published on 20 March 2020

The newly published SEND Partnership Service Annual Report for the academic year 2018-19 is now available to read here.


The SEND Partnership Service (SPS) is commissioned by the Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group (LA/CCG) to fulfil the statutory duty to provide information, advice and support for children and young people aged 0 – 25 years with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their parents across Bath and North East Somerset. The service is jointly funded by the Local Authority (LA), with a contribution specifically from Social Care, and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

SPS provides information about social care and health, as they relate to SEND, and is confidential and free. The service is impartial, accessible and provided at arm’s length from the local authority. SPS delivery of information, advice and support always refers to the legislation, guidance and policy and from that sound and consistent base is able to empower families to challenge the LA, education or health provider in an impartial and unbiased way.

The service maintains its impartiality and distance from LA/CCG delivery by ensuring that staff and volunteers understand the distinction through training, supervision and practice. Service users and professionals alike are informed of this approach through a consistent and rehearsed message and practice. SPS has its own branding, a stand-alone website and data recording system independently hosted from the LA/CCG. 

Within Bath and North East Somerset the 2018/19 school census data shows that there are 4297 identified children with SEND, of which 1277 have a current plan and 3020 are recorded as receiving SEN support. During the same period the Further Education section recorded 1090 young people on full-time courses who identified with support needs The Early Year’s sector identified 129 children receiving inclusion support funding. It is apparent that there are just fewer than 5500 children and young people who, as a minimum, should be able to access impartial information, advice and support.

In the 2018/19 academic year SPS worked with 616 families (415 of these required indepth case work support) and recorded a total of 8178 contacts via phone, email, text and face to face. There were 2438 hits to the website between September 2018 and May 2019 and an additional 706 to the new website between June and August 2019; the new site was launched in June 2019. Additionally the Service recorded 68 consultations with professionals.

We are currently reaching just over 11% of our known cohort which demonstrates an increase over the last 2 years. Accessible resources and a continued programme of outreach, which utilises our Parent Champions, have had a positive impact. For future reporting our new case management system will enable us to track our support more effectively and map our interventions – this will enable us to target gaps in cover where we know there is need. Our challenge will be having the capacity to address the case support that follows.

Professional and service user feedback is very positive about SPS and we are told they all value the support they receive from the Team. SPS is considered to be impartial, professional, well informed and it is evidenced that families feel more confident after working with the service. At the recent SEND Local Area Inspection, Ofsted and the CQC reported ‘Most parents and carers feel that they are able to get the information, advice and support they need. The SEND Partnership Service is particularly praised.’ 

SPS also supported families whose children were permanently excluded from school: early work with the families enables them to negotiate the right educational provision for their children and means they can continue to attend educational provision with minimal disruption.

SPS works with families from the moment a concern is identified with a child’s education, or development, and continues to support even where children do not meet statutory thresholds for an Education Health and Care plan. Whilst historically the service worked with a greater percentage of families whose children were not subject to statutory processes the picture is different now. 51% of case work undertaken was within the statutory framework and 49% prestatutory, or at SEN Support level.

Whenever possible, SPS acts as a conduit for consultation with children, parents and young people often in collaboration with other services and agencies. Consultation opportunities enable families to comment on SEND provision, services and delivery with respect to local and national policy; with the potential to influence and effect change. In addition, the Service works strategically with other agencies to present the voice of children, parents and young people to inform the development, procurement and monitoring of services.

SPS has been working with Coram Family and Childcare Trust for almost two years developing a Parent Champions programme – Parent Champions are informal advocates for the service, they are volunteers who signpost to services, spreading the word about the information and support available.

The Service is monitored by an independent Advisory Group. The Advisory Group has responsibility for ensuring that a high quality, ‘arm’s length’ service is maintained for the Local Authority and that SPS is responsive to local need, whilst taking into consideration best practice on a regional and national level.

For the full report view the attached document.

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