The Local Offer

Local support for children and young people with SEND

The Local Offer provides information about services and support available locally for children and young people.

The Local Offer includes things like education, childcare, health transport, support and preparing for adult life.

We make the Local Offer by listening to and talking to parents, carers and young people in schools and colleges.

We listen to you. Help us to make the Local Offer better.

The local offer is about helping families to make the best decisions.

About The Local Offer

Somerset’s Local Offer is about services and support available locally for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) from birth to 25.

We are constantly developing, updating and reviewing the Local Offer.

The Children and Families Act and the Local Offer

The Children and Families Act has brought in major changes in the way that children with SEND and their families are supported.

One of the big changes requires local authorities to provide a website for information about the local services available for any children and young people in their area with SEND aged from birth to 25. The Local Offer includes information about how to access services.

The information and services on this website are for all children and young people with special educational needs that the local authority is responsible for, whether they have Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans or not.

The Local Offer is also an important resource for professionals to support understanding of the range of services and provision for children and young people with SEND in Somerset.

This animated film, produced by Dorset County Council, explains the main changes brought in by the Children and Families Act.

The Local Offer covers:

  • Education, health and care provision for children and young people with SEND arrangements for identifying and assessing children and young people with SEND, including arrangements for requesting an EHC needs assessment
  • Other education provision (outside of schools or colleges, such as sports or arts provision) training provision, including apprenticeships
  • Arrangements for travel to and from schools, post-16 institutions and early years providers support to help children and young people in moving between phases of education and to prepare for adulthood
  • Sources of information, advice and support in the area relating to SEND, parent carer forums, support groups, childcare and leisure activities
  • Arrangements for making complaints, for the resolution of disagreements, mediation and parents’ and young people’s rights to appeal

How the Local Offer is produced

The Somerset Local Offer was first published 1 September 2014. It has been co-produced between Somerset County Council, Somerset Parent Carers Forum (SPCF) and young people’s groups in schools and colleges. It has also been developed through commissioned activity with Compass Disability.

The Children and Families Act requires local authorities to continually review information about services they expect to be available for children and young people with SEND from birth to 25.

Importantly, the Local Offer is about improving choice and transparency for families. It brings together all the relevant information about services, and has a feedback facility to help inform joint commissioning, by agencies for children and young people with SEND.

We encourage both positive and negative feedback on our offer so that we can continue to develop it and make sure it remains useful. Our Local Offer is reviewed regularly.

If there is anything that you feel is missing please let us know.

Development principles for our Local Offer

All aspects of services in the Somerset Local Offer are developed in partnership with parent carers, young people and practitioners in agencies and the voluntary sector.

Our Local Offer empowers parent carers, young people and practitioners by setting out clearly what can be expected locally, how to access services and where to find more information.

This means that parent carers and young people know what to expect and can hold services to account. This supports practitioners’ understanding of what is available and means they advise parent carers and young people accurately.

People should be able to find our Local Offer easily and understand what it says. It should be written in clear, plain language, be widely available and give good information about where to find extra support.

The Somerset Local Offer is for children, their families and young people up to the age of 25. It has information about services from education (including early years settings, mainstream and special schools and colleges, training and employment support), health, social care, leisure, employment and housing, in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

The Local Offer shows how to access services and support. It explains how decisions are made and who by. It sets out with clear pathways for action and directions about what to do and where to go if things go wrong.

If you want to see the Local Offers of other authorities, they have been collated onto one website. Just search the alphabetical list for the one you’re looking for.

Working with parents and young people

Somerset SEND services with parents through Somerset Parent Carer Forum (SPCF), and Somerset Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIAS), and young people through commissioning key specialists in the voluntary sector.

We work with parents, carers and young people to develop and maintain confidence in the assessment of need and the delivery of support.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Engagement and Participation Strategy

The Strategy affects everyone. We are encouraging as many people as possible to read it to understand what our plans are in Somerset.

The strategy makes sure that children, young people and their families and carers have their voices heard about things that affect them in Somerset.

Engagement and Participation Strategy 2018 – 2020

To find out more about participation and how to take part visit the SEND Participation Team page.

Local Offer Accessibility Plan

Complaints, comments and compliments about Somerset County Council’s services or actions

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