Back in March 2020 Norfolk Local Authority and Health Services were visited by Ofsted/CQC inspectors to review how effectively they were fulfilling their responsibilities towards children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). During their visit the voices and experiences of parent/carers, children and young people were paramount to the inspector’s decision.
A few months after the Ofsted/CQC visit they published their findings and decision, this letter explained that Norfolk Local Authority had not passed the SEND Area Inspection and it also detailed three main areas of weakness:
- Too many EHC plans and annual reviews are not completed in a timely manner and are of poor quality. This limits the scope and impact of joint commissioning, including the timeliness of services to meet speech, language and communication needs; for children and young people with social, emotional, mental health needs; and for those with ASD.
- Plans and provision for young people as they move into adulthood are not sufficient to meet their needs. There is a lack of support for the young people to become active, independent citizens in the community, in a way that matches their needs and aspirations. Joint commissioning of services for 18- to 25-year-olds is not sufficiently well informed because leaders do not know enough about what the young people want and need.
- Too often, communication with parents and carers is poor. Co-production with children, young people and their families is too limited. These weaknesses particularly affect, but are not exclusive to, children and young people with SEND who do not have an EHC plan. Families are not sufficiently informed about what help is available to them and what the area is doing to address the weaknesses in provision and services for children and young people.
Following the letter from Ofsted/CQC Norfolk was required to write a Written Statement of Action (WSoA) detailing how it would address the significant weakness noted by the inspectors. Norfolk SENDIASS were part of the lengthy meetings that resulted in Norfolk’s WSoA; a document of over a hundred actions including actions that Norfolk SENDIASS would lead on, such as creating a forum where children and young people would have their voices heard to influence change and inform policy and practice – this became the Norfolk SEND Youth Forum.
Over the last two years Norfolk SENDIASS alongside other parent/carer groups have worked together in co-production with the Local Authority to address many of the issues raised by the inspection.
During their re-visit they will determine whether the local area has made sufficient progress in addressing the areas of significant weakness detailed in the WSoA. Same as the original inspection parent/carers, children and young people will be given the opportunity to inform the inspectors of their views, this time though, they will want your views specifically on the three areas of weaknesses.
We now know that Ofsted are due to re-visit Norfolk between the 28th and 30th November 2022, this is your chance to have your voice heard regarding the three areas of weakness as detailed above. There are a number of ways to let Ofsted know your views:
- Parents and carers who would like to take part in this survey can follow this internet link: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/NorfolkCountyCouncilRe-VisitLASEND. The survey will open at 12 noon on Monday 21 November 2022 and close at 12 noon on Friday 25 November 2022.
- Parents and carers can email their contributions to Lasend.firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Parents and carers can contact their local Parent Carer Forum (Family Voice Norfolk) to find out more about about how they can contribute their views during the local area re-visit. The inspectors will meet with the local Parent Carer Forum to hear their views directly.