A new duty in the SEN Code of Practice is being placed on Local Authorities from September 2014 and this is being referred to as the ‘Local Offer’. This means that Local authorities must publish, in one place, information about provision they expect to be available in their area for children and young people from 0 to 25 who have SEN.
The local offer must include both local provision and provision outside the area that the local authority expects is likely to be used by children and young people with SEN for whom they are responsible.
The local offer has two key purposes:
- To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available
- To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving children and young people with SEN, parents and carers, and service providers in its development and review.
The local offer can be described as what we can expect to be available to children and young people with SEN (0-25)’. The aim is that the local offer will be:
- Accessible – easy to understand using jargon free, factual information
- Engaging – developed jointly with the involvement of children, young people and parents
- Transparent – communicating what’s available and how decisions are made
How does this relate to schools, educational settings and services in Devon?
The local offer will form a significant part of the new SEN Code of Practice and will focus on statutory duties for local authorities. The local offer is what goes on every day to support children and young people with SEN and how we ensure quality around this. This includes what we expect to be available in schools, colleges and other educational provision.
The functional aspect of the local offer will be around communicating it through the main DCC website. However, to provide the most relevant information there will be links to schools, educational and health settings and services, e.g. those available through Babcock LDP.
To further promote the local offer, the Children’s’ and Families Bill (clause 65) also compels schools to include on their own websites, information on where the local authority’s local offer is published. This can be a direct link to the local offer website.
The initial local offer website is available now via the main DCC website. The information there has been developed in response to the statutory requirements for the local offer (C&F Bill, Clause 30) although this is only the start! A lot of work has been done with young people and parents to get the local offer website up and running and it will continue to evolve and become more comprehensive over time.