SEND Partnership Service Advisory Group

Terms of Reference


All Local Authorities in England have a statutory duty to ensure that parents, carers and young people have access to accurate and impartial information advice and support.

SEND Partnership Service (SPS) delivers this service and operates at “arms-length” from the Local Authority (LA) and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) across Bath and North East Somerset. 

SPS must comply with the Minimum National Standards 2018 (Departments of Education and Health and Social Care), Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice 2015. 

SPS is confidential and offers impartial information, advice and support to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) and their parents/carers

SPS offers:

  - Access to information to help children and young people and their families make informed decisions about their education and future outcomes

  - Support for children and young people and their families to understand and contribute to SEND processes and procedures, including appeals. This could be by telephone, email or face to face with one of the SPS team

  - Help with preparation for SEND related meetings, including attendance at some meetings.

  - Signposting to useful information, advice, legal and advocacy services.

  - Planned training for professionals and families related to SEND and additional needs.

  - Consultation opportunities for children, young people and their parents/carers to influence policy and procedure related to SEND locally, regionally and nationally.


Minimum Standards for Delivery

SPS complies with the SEND Code of Practice 2015 and the Department for Education and Council for Disabled Children approved Minimum Standards 2018. The requirement for compliance is:  

1.7 The Governance arrangements outline a clear management structure, encompassing a strategic manager within the IASS and a steering group or advisory body which includes representatives from service user groups and key stakeholders from education, social care and health.

Being monitored by an independent Advisory Group enhances the service’s impartiality and at arm’s length operation from the LA/CCG. The Advisory Group has a role in challenging the service’s delivery to ensure that it has strategies in place and evidence of being at arm’s length, confidential, accessible and impartial. It is also a group that can represent, champion and promote the role of SPS


Aims and Purpose of the Group

The aim and purpose of the Advisory Group is to ensure that Bath and North East Somerset SPS delivers a high quality, compliant service that is responsive to local need, taking into account best practice and resource allocation.


Functions of the Group

  - Monitor service delivery and governance and ensure that it is compliant with the legal framework, the Code of Practice 2015 and the Minimum Standards for SENDIASS Delivery 2018, especially regarding impartiality and ‘arm’s length’ delivery

  - Monitor the performance of the service to ensure that sufficient resources are available for the delivery of an efficient and quality service  

  - Promote positive relationships and work in true partnership with a wide range of parents/carers, education providers, LA, CCG and other services regarding special educational needs, including families who have used the service

  - To seek solutions for improvement in a positive and constructive way. Offer support to the staff team as necessary

  - Influence service development and identify and promote good practice both nationally and locally

  - Receive and request key performance data and reports as required. Receive and ratify the SPS Annual Report and Operational Plan

  - Oversee activities and discuss key issues that are relevant to the work of SPS

  - Provide a clear and identified written pathway for regular feedback to the LA and CCG to raise items and influence decisions on local services, policies, practices and procedures and ensuring that there is clear understanding with the LA on the role of the service

  - Be a key partner for service user consultation and representation in relation to the development of SEND

  - Ensure that SPS is engaged as a key partner in relation to Children’s and Adult Service Development

  - The Advisory Group is not designed to discuss or champion individual concerns, or case management, but examples can be used as illustration for good practice and for improvement and learning in relation to SEND. The Advisory Group enables a collective approach to feedback to the LA and CCG

  - Actively seek parent/carer, children, and young people’s views in relation to their SEND to provide an opportunity for consultation and feedback to promote both service development and engagement with other key service providers


‚ÄčRole of the Local Authority and the Clinical Commissioning Group

  - To ensure that the Advisory Group is informed of LA and CCG planning priorities, strategic updates and significant developments relating to children and young people with SEND

  - Maintain a clear and identified written pathway for regular feedback from the Advisory Group to influence decisions on local services, policies, practices and procedures.

  - Recognise SPS as a key partner for consultation and representation in relation to the development of SEND

  - To proactively promote, and raise awareness of, the service to a wide range of potential service users, professionals and stakeholders



The group will comprise representation from a range of statutory services e.g. health, social care and education (Early Years, Schools and FE/HE), the service commissioners, a representative of the parent carer forum and voluntary and third sector organisations that can represent the voice of children and young people with SEND.


Meetings and reporting

Meetings are held bi-annually during the academic year, with a family event in the summer to report on progress, discuss impact and consult with service users on matters of interest

To strengthen the impartiality of SPS chairing of the meetings will be undertaken by an Independent Chair who has a role in supporting the manager of SPS throughout the year


Advisory Group Accountability

The SPS Advisory Group reports to the LA and CCG’s SEND Strategy Board — the multi-agency group that discusses all matters relating to SEND for children and young people including funding, policy and provision. 


For a printable version of the Factsheet please view the attached document


This document can be made available in a range of community languages, large print, Braille, on tape, electronic and accessible formats.