Somerset County Council and NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group are working in partnership to improve Somerset’s services for children and young people (aged 0 to 25) with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). The work taking place is outlined within the Written Statement of Action (WSoA) and divided into Improvement Priority (IP) areas.

Improvement Priority 3 – Teamwork

What is Improvement Priority 3 and why does it matter?

The Improvement Priority 3 (IP3) work goes across the whole plan aimed at helping the local area to address the weak partnership working between education, health and social care which was identified by Ofsted and CQC in the local area inspection. Through this priority the local area is seeking to strengthen and embed partnership working by making sure we have the right infrastructure, processes, and governance arrangements in place to facilitate strong collaboration.

This priority area is important to the overall plan as we need to make sure we have the right infrastructure in place to enable our partnerships to develop and flourish. The improvement activity agreed within the WSoA will only be successful if we work and develop together as a system to ensure we meet the outcomes our children and young people with SEND and their families need.

What are we aiming for?

The key outcomes for Improvement Priority 3 are as follows:

  • There is a sound knowledge of statutory responsibilities and organisational priorities.
  • Governance arrangements for joint programmes of work ensure clear accountability across the partners.
  • Practice standards and quality assurance processes across the system are guided by the same underlying principles.
  • Leaders can see that increased co-production is having a measurable positive impact for our children and young people with SEND and their families.
  • Partners work seamlessly together, with a focus on improving lives for children and young people with SEND and their families.

What is being done to make this happen and what has been done so far?

1.There is a sound knowledge of statutory responsibilities and organisational priorities.

  • A local area self-assessment against the SEND Code-of Practice with recommendations for further action for those areas where the professionals and the Somerset Parent Care Forum feel the Local Area is not compliant.
  • A relaunch of the SEND Charter as a protocol for how we engage to make changes to services. – In progress
  • An audit of joint funding and joint funding arrangements – In progress with a report to go to the SEND Improvement Board in early summer outlining a more transparent and collaborative approach.

2.Governance arrangements for joint programmes of work ensure clear accountability across the partners.

  • The development of a memorandum of understanding for the creation of create joint posts – In progress, due to complete by August 2021.
  • We have a clear escalation process for timely resolution of risks, issues and resources required to support the work taking place across the WSoA – in place and being monitored for effectiveness.
  • We have developed and maintained a shared SEND risk register for the local area – in place and being monitored for effectiveness and updated as required.
  • Ensuring close alignment with wider Council and CCG joint transformation programmes, such as the development of an Integrated Care System in Somerset and our possible move towards a new local authority administration system – In progress and remains live throughout the period of the SEND Improvement Programme.
  • Ensuring the right data and other information is available to have an accurate understanding of area needs across the local area – Complete and constantly developing.
  • Developing mechanisms to improve and automate the reporting capabilities for SEND in Somerset to ensure success against meeting agreed outcomes can be measured and evidenced – in place and constantly monitored for effectiveness.

3.Practice standards and quality assurance processes across the system are guided by the same underlying principles.

  • The development of agreed whole system quality assurance principles and partners and providers have ensured aligned their quality assurance frameworks to these principles – In progress to be published late during the summer.

4.Leaders can see that increased co-production is having a measurable positive impact for our children and young people with SEND and their families.

  • A Somerset local area outcomes framework is developed, implemented and published on the local offer – Outcomes expected have been developed with children and young people, their families and staff and work is taking place to ensure these are embedded in all areas of work and across inclusion services.
  • Key performance indicators to reflect these agreed outcomes and impact on children, young people with SEND and their families will be measured on a regular basis and reported to the SEND Improvement Board – quarterly reporting.

5.Partners work seamlessly together, with a focus on improving lives for children and young people with SEND and their families.

  • The development of an overarching SEND Strategy for the local area outlining what children and young people with SEND and the families can expect over the next 2 to 3 years – In progress, to be published by the end August 2021.

Who is involved?

This is a cross cutting priority involving all Improvement Priority area leads and is led by the Somerset County Council Assistant Director for Inclusion.

Where can I find out more?

Get in touch

If you have any questions about IP3 work please email: SENDImprovement1@Somerset.gov.uk