To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (Cumbria County Council) (copy enclosed).
The Board received a report from the Executive Director – People (Cumbria County Council) which provided an update on the outcomes following the recent Ofsted and Care Quality Commission joint revisit inspection of SEND services in our local area together with the Cumbria’s SEND Partnership response to the findings and the next steps to secure continuous improvement.
Members noted that the inspection re-visit took place between 21 November and 8 December 2022 with its purpose to assess whether sufficient progress had been made in addressing each of the nine areas of concern raised at full inspection in 2019.
The Board was advised that the Inspection Team had determined that the local area had made sufficient progress in improving seven of the nine concerns identified in 2019. Officers explained that the two remaining areas required further work to secure the trust and faith which parents and carers had in services and the provision of support for emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people.
Members were informed that the SEND Partnership was working with the Department for Education and NHS England to agree a formal Accelerated Progress Plan (APP) for the two areas where further work was required. It was explained that the action plan and supporting analysis would help the DfE and NHS England assess the action being taken to achieve the required improvement. The Board was advised this must be submitted by 20 March 2023, with a progress review within six months of the revisit report being published.
The Board noted that local area joint SEND inspection revisit had focused on the experiences of children with SEND and their families when engaging with services in the local area, the quality of those services and equity of access and asked whether this included private schools and academies. Officers explained the Authority was responsible for all children and were monitored through the Plan with scrutiny being provided through OFSTED.
During the course of discussion the problems encountered for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) due to the lack of resources was highlighted. Members emphasised the importance of early help to try and avoid the need to access the Service.
Members were advised that CAMHS had the fasted growing number of referrals post the pandemic and had received an £11m investment for its development and improvement with additional funding still required for autism. The Board was informed of the improved home care and support as well as the challenges regarding waiting times for elective patient referrals. It was agreed the issues highlighted were across the organisation and there was a need for a collective partnership approach to improvement.
The Cabinet Member for Children's Services whilst acknowledging the two remaining areas which required further work and the need for continued monitoring thanked the SEND Improvement Strategic Lead and her Team for their support.
A discussion took place regarding the Government’s SEND review and officers welcomed the greater national focus whilst highlighting the significant financial challenges.
The Board noted that from April 2023 representatives from Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness unitary councils would work alongside both of the Integrated Care Boards operating across Cumbria, SENDAC (Cumbria’s Parent Carer Forum) and health and education providers to implement the actions in the Continuous Improvement Plan including the APP.
The Chair, on behalf of the Board, congratulated the SEND Improvement Strategic Lead and her Team for their work and achievements.
RESOLVED, that the findings of the local area SEND Inspection revisit and the next steps to build on and continue improvement in the local area services for SEND be noted.