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SEND Redesign: Internal Staff Consultation

The SEND Redesign has been progressing and an internal Kent County Council staff consultation has started and will run until Friday 24 June 2022.

The consultation is considering how we organise and structure the SEND service to ensure that it is fit for the future.

The SEND Service will be making some changes this year, as we know, based on feedback from you as schools and from parents, carers and staff within the SEND service, that we can do better. We are also aware that the demand for SEND services has grown over recent years and that we are expecting the demand to continue to grow. Therefore, the SEND service needs to change so we can do better for you, the children, young people and families of Kent, and make sure services are fit for the future and can respond to the growing demand in a timely way.

The SEND Redesign is focusing on the internal structure and organisaton of the service only and we want to make sure that any changes made are meaningful. Through changing the structure and organisation of the service we want to make working together easier and for our services to become simpler to navigate, so we can become more inclusive by identifying needs and putting support and interventions into place at an earlier stage.

The SEND Redesign is only focusing on the internal structure and organisation of the service and therefore at this stage we are only consulting with internal staff. The internal consultation began on Thursday 26 May 2022 and will run until Friday 24 June 2022. The consultation has put forward a number of proposals, these proposals include how we can better organize the SEND service to meet statutory duties in a timely way, putting forward the concept of having distinct functions for the Statutory Assessment process, placements and the ongoing maintenance of EHC Plans including Annual Reviews, phase transfer and day-to-day management.

Alongside our statutory duties we are also looking at how we can work better with educational settings from Early Years all the way through from school to post 16. Our ambition is for the future SEND Service to have a greater focus on prevention and inclusivity with our work with you as schools central to this. We want to work with you to support the early identification of need so we can support you, at both a whole school and system level, to promote inclusive practice to ensure plans and support can be put into place to enable children and young people to attend school, wherever possible, in their local communities so they can thrive and be included. To achieve this ambition, we are proposing to introduce a function that focuses on the provision of support and guidance to educational settings and bringing this support together in one place, so it is easily accessible to schools and to enhance inclusivity across Kent to ensure the best outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

Following extensive engagement and reviewing feedback from a range of stakeholders, we understand and are aware that it can be difficult to reach the service when you need to and that experiences can vary across the county. We recognise that for the SEND service to make any meaningful changes for the better we need to address this, therefore under our current proposals we have put forward the proposal to introduce a single point of contact for all enquiries coming into the SEND service so these can be tracked, monitored and resolved, both in a timely manner and the best way possible. This single point of contact would be there for both parents and carers, as well as our partners. Furthermore, to ensure that there is a consistent and high-quality level of service across the SEND service we are reviewing our audit processes and are proposing to introduce practice and quality assurance frameworks so we can embed a culture of continuous improvement.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience as we recognise this process may be a difficult and uncertain time. The changes that are being made as part of the Redesign will be in place by September and we will keep you updated on progress as the consultation progresses. Please rest assured that all changes that are made will be to provide a better SEND service to ensure that everyone has a better experience in the future.