The second session of the Hampshire County Council SEN Conference was entitled “The Local Offer” and led by Tesni Mason, Parent Partnership Officer.

HCC governor services

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Andre spoke about the need for people to have clear information – not just contact details, but information on how to access services.  The Local Offer is not just for education, but education, health and care, for CYP with SEN and/or disability.

The LA has to publish that information, but also comments on the Local Offer – so it is very transparent system.  In addition they have to publish their response to the comments developing a clear link between commissioning and clients.

The Local Offer is a live set of information which will be reviewed and amended regularly.

Hampshire has worked with the other LA in the SE7 Pathfinder Authorities.  Parents want to compare information to be able to understand the Local Offer.

Regional Principles

  • Co-produced – working with CYP, Parents and Schools to create a sensible way of moving forward together.
  • Holistic – all information has to cover 0-25 – that is a big challenge as most info is 0-16 and 16+.
  • Accessible – partly about the language that is used – much is not new information but information that is hard to find and understand.
  • Factual – only want to know things that are actually there – they want to know aspirations but also what the current situation and service is.
  • Empowering – accessing those services ASAP – important not just for families but also for professionals.
  • Sustainable – get up-to-date, asking schools to help with this.
  • Transparent – much more information about how decisions are made, what eligibility is.
  • Widely available – start with easy access that require no further assessment then moving onto specialist support.

Schools, Social Care, Health, Parents, Adult Services – links to housing, employment etc.  Spent a lot of time developing the guidelines, now putting into practice, in an implementation stage.  Specific groups looking at specific issues – schools, parents, but no governors, services such as Ed Psych, Early Years.

Publishing the Local Offer

Developed a partnership with Parent Voice to deliver and develop the IT for the Local Offer, linked to the Parent Voice and Hampshire Gateway websites.  Hampshire Parent/Carer Network, NHS and others have developed the web site.

Aiming to publish the first version of the offer in January 2013.

Research on Parental Journeys

Research on parental journeys – to understand how parents find information – what works well, what is hard to find, and what the emotional impact of the information is.  Sent out a questionnaire, receiving 117 response, anonymous, and then selected 40 families (5 from each of the 8 Districts, with age 5-22 year old children, and mild, moderate and more complex needs).  Interviewed 31 families, and completing analysis, with report coming in the next few weeks.

Key findings – What Works Well

  • A single point of contact with someone they can talk things through with.
  • Having information prior to appointments – knowing who’s who and what to expect.
  • Effect signposting – often when not eligible they aren’t signposted to an appropriate resource.
  • Shared decision making and being listened to.
  • 80% of parents send they were left to their own devices, trying to find the information, professionals assumed knowledge.
  • Felt some information was hidden – especially around Statementing and Social Care assessment.
  • They felt they had to learn to be pushy – threaten legal action or exaggerate symptoms to be heard.  Conflict could be avoided if greater transparency.

In December develop a prototype of website, publishing in January, and by March a full version of the Local Offer with further info to follow.

What do you need to do?

Questions for schools have come from what parents said they want to know, and link to SEN Information Regulations which state what schools legally have to publish.  Piloted with a number of schools and realised that some questions led ot professional language and are producing guidance which will be finalised by the end of October, with briefings for schools from 11th November.

All schools will produce their own Local Offer including the roles of LA, Schools and Governors.  The LA will produce their guidance on the offer under School Action and School Action + until the Draft Code is published.  Gosport have looked at it as both individual schools and clusters – looking at who else you engage with to support children with SEN and Disability.

How do we do co-production?  Can be a scary idea, but quite simple, invite in a couple of parents to review the questions, some supportive and some who challenge you quite a bit.  That can be quite small and simple.  Then build on that by adding detail to the headings – some further broadening of parental survey.  Important that everyone has some say in that.


The Local Offer is what is already done and in the SEN Policy – so surely we’re just creating another document from existing documents.  It is slightly more parent friendly but surely the policy should be written in a better way.  Sharing information of services would be beneficial but that seems like an LA role not local schools.

  • How much freedom in your final Local Offer?  It will need some prescriptive questions as there are some things which are important and we want some
  • When does it have to be done, and who do we submit it to?  Can start doing it now, have to do it by the end of the year.  It can take several drafts.  Working out the quality control, and when publish the guidance that will be included.  Will be circulated to Head Teachers.
  • How do you share across a consortium?  Gosport has devised a shared Local Offer which is then adapted by each individual school.
  • It seems an example of creating more work, and not streamlining a service?  The responsibility of each school is to produce a Local Offer in partnership with parents.
  • But if you’re a mile apart you would end up replicating the same document as the other school as the same services would be there.  Yes but we need to allow individual schools to share their views.
  • Surely one needs a standard document if it is to benefit parents give they’re not the same.  There will be a form, containing guidance, which will provide uniformity.
Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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