We are listening

We are listening

Hearing the views of children and young people, parent carers, professionals and providers is really important to ensure that we are developing services that provide the right support for families.

It is important that our SEND families can find out about any changes and developments to services that we’ve made as a result of listening to their feedback. These often take the form of ‘You said, We did’ reports, which we publish below. The reports should contain details of what has been said, and what has happened as a result. In some cases it could be that it hasn’t been possible to implement the changes asked for, but the rationale behind these decisions will be included and form part of the report.

We gather feedback in a number of ways to help make improvements to our services. You can find out more about ways you can become involved on our Co-production page.

Feedback about the SEND Local Offer

Every Local Authority has to work with children and young people, parent carers and professionals to make their Local Offer website. This is to make sure that everything that's included on the website makes sense and is helpful and relevant. This is an ongoing process, so things will change again overtime as needed. We have an email address on the Local Offer landing page, which people can use to feedback their thoughts: localoffer@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk

How we've involved other people

Worcestershire Children First have been working with parent carer groups, Worcestershire’s parent carer forum - Families in Partnership, representatives from the NHS and young people with SEND to redesign the SEND Local Offer. We’ve had a number of workshops, surveys and user testing sessions to get feedback from parent carers and young people, about what they would like to see on the Local Offer, and how they would like to see it presented.

Getting feedback

We've spoken to lots of different people about the Local Offer website, including parent carers, young people and other professionals. We showed them Local Offer sites from other areas and asked them what they liked about them, and what they didn’t like. We sent out surveys to parent carers asking for feedback about different local offer sites, including specific information about neurodiversity.

We've gathered feedback from:

  • young people with SEND – through workshops
  • parent carers – through meetings involving Families in Partnership, parent carer support groups, the members of the parent stakeholder group and parent carers involved with the young adults’ team. We have also circulated online surveys and through feedback from the local offer email
  • professionals – through workshops, attending events for professionals, and in meetings

We've used this feedback to make changes to the website including:

  • rearranging the information into age groups
  • adding more pictures and videos
  • renaming pages to make it clear what the information is about
  • rewriting information to make it shorter, clearer and friendlier
  • adding new information including ‘What next?’
  • Completely redesigning the Preparing for Adulthood section

Local Offer Report

The Local Offer report provides information about all the feedback we have had about the SEND Local Offer and what we have done in response to each bit of feedback.

Annual parent carer survey feedback

SEND Parent Carer Survey Executive Summary – update

In the Autumn of 2022, we published an executive summary of the results from the third SEND improvement parent carer survey.

The survey was a mixture of multiple choice and open-ended questions and the responses contained valuable feedback from Worcestershire parent carers. 

We analysed the feedback and identified key areas for development, many of which were echoed in the SEND Area Inspection findings and subsequent Accelerated Progress Plan (APP). We said we would use the findings from the survey to inform further development of the Accelerated Progress Plan, Quality Assurance Programme, and service development.

It is our aim to be transparent in our approach to improving life for SEND families in Worcestershire and therefore we are publishing this update report to let our families know what is being done in each of the areas identified.

Download: Parent Care Survey Executive Summary (PDF)

SEND Parent Carer Survey Executive Summary of Results 2022

In Spring 2022 Worcestershire Children First and Families in Partnership (FiP), Worcestershire’s parent carer forum, sent out a survey to get the view of parents and carers about services for children and young people with SEND. This was the third time the survey had been shared, enabling us to compare results over three years. The 2023 survey will be revamped, following feedback about this and other surveys.

We would like to thank the parents and carers who took the time to complete the survey and reassure them that all the responses and comments have been read.

The findings have been analysed and will be used to inform further development of the Accelerated Progress Plan, Quality Assurance Programme, and service development. We have produced an Executive summary of the results, with commentary which can be downloaded here.

Download: 2022 Parent Carer Survey Executive Summary (PDF)

SEND Improvement Parent Carer Survey You Said, We Did Report 2021

In early 2021 Worcestershire Children First and Families in Partnership (FiP), Worcestershire’s parent carer forum sent out a joint parent carer survey to obtain the views of parents and carers about services in the area for their children and young people with Special Educational needs/disability (SEND). This is the second such survey and it went out during the third COVID-19 Lockdown.

This annual survey forms part of our improvement journey, we want to know what was working well and not working so well with our SEND Services and what parent and carers think needs to change.

The results from this survey have been analysed, compared to previous years, and shared with all the relevant parties for comment and action. We have worked together to produce a ‘You Said, We Did’ Report (YSWD). We have used this year’s results to continue to track our progress against commentary made in the 2020 YSWD.

Download: You Said, We Did Report 2021 (PDF)

SEND Improvement Parent Carer Survey You Said, We Did Report 2020

Since March 2017, we have had a commitment to work with parent carers, young people and professionals about services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. We ask about what’s working well, what’s not working well and what they would do differently. We do this in several ways, by holding events, going out to groups (when running), having focus groups and sending out surveys sometimes with follow-up phones calls.

In 2020 Worcestershire Children First and Families in Partnership (FiP), Worcestershire’s parent carer forum sent out a joint parent carer survey to obtain the views of parent carers about services in the area for their children and young people with Special Educational needs/disability (SEND). This is something we intend to do annually.

The responses from this survey were anonymised and have been shared with partners. The results have been analysed and we are using them to help improve services.

We have worked together to produce a ‘You said, We did’ report where we outline what we have done so far and what we intend to do as a result of the feedback.

Download: SEND Improvement Parent Carer Survey - You Said, We Did Report 2020 (PDF)

You said, we did reports

In 2022 we made the decision, following feedback from parent carers about the usefulness or not of the parent carer annual survey, to develop other opportunities for parent carer feedback and to no longer issue an all-encompassing annual survey.

We looked at the feedback we have received and, in our 2022 Executive summary report we identified ten areas for development, and, in January 2023, we issued an update on progress against these 10 areas, in the form of a You said, We did, style report.

We will continue to listen to families and therefore we will also reflect on the ten areas to ensure they are still relevant and revise them if necessary.

Joint Approach to Commissioning

A Joint Approach to Commissioning SEND Services for Children and Young People


The following sets out the NHS, Worcestershire County Council (WCC) and Worcestershire Children First (WCF) shared commitment to adopting a coproduction approach to commissioning SEND provision. This applies to the design, development and commissioning of new services, projects and programmes working with and abiding by the principles within the Worcestershire SEND Charter.

Coproduction done well, sincerely, and correctly is a way of working which adopts an equal partnership between people who will be accessing, using and benefitting from, delivering services and the professionals funding these in the NHS, WCF and WCC. It will apply to all stages of the commissioning cycle from the initial analysis and evaluation of a situation or problem, to the design, development, commissioning, procurement, and delivery of services.

Why invest in coproduction when commissioning services?

Coproduction leads to better outcomes for children, young people, families, and communities. It also facilitates improved relationships between professionals and people using or benefitting from services, as well as more efficient and effective use of public resources. It is essential to ensure that the commissioning bodies consider the strengths and assets of citizens and communities, not just problems identified through service-based data. Coproduction empowers a complete three sixty and holistic view, which can ensure that services are as relevant and accessible as they need to be to those citizens and communities who are intended to benefit from them.  Adopting this approach from the outset creates the space for shared ownership, oversight and continuous development and improvement of services.

Adopting a joint approach to commissioning is important for two reasons:

  1. to promote more effective and efficient uses of public resources, particularly where organisations are jointly invested in services (financially and/or in-kind) - this also includes the sharing of skills and expertise for mutual benefit based around a recognition of shared aims and values
  2. to promote a better experience for citizens and communities by simplifying and rationalising the different modes, means and processes which people are invited to participate in and contribute to different consultation, engagement, and coproduction opportunities
  3. to improve the experience of access and use of services by a more consistent, simpler and seamless integrated and co-ordinated process across the partnership

Adopting and implementing a coproduction commissioning approach

Coproduction requires a commitment to adopting and implementing a set of shared principles, values, and behaviours. This will maintain the confidence of contributors in the commitment to coproduction. Protocols setting out how stakeholders in Worcestershire are adopting a joint approach to coproduction are set out in appendix 1. To jointly commission using the protocols of the Worcestershire SEND Charter, we need to ensure that commissioning activity adopts the same or similar activities through the commissioning cycle, as per “Evaluate”, “Design”, “Source”, “Review”.  This is set out in appendix 2 and shows how citizens and communities can be included from the outset of a new piece of work through to its subsequent and ongoing oversight and improvement.

Levels of commissioning and co-production

Strategic commissioning is the development and implementation of over-arching commissioning intentions for populations. A current example is the strategic intention to commission services to support parent carers and their children (with disabilities) in having access to respite services. The approach in Worcestershire is to deliver this through the local ‘Short Breaks Offer’ consisting of; groups and activities, 1 to 1 support and overnight short breaks.

All short breaks were reviewed between 2018 and 2019 and the current access to service provision is based on the foundations of co-production. Overnight short breaks continue to be jointly commissioned under the Section 75 agreement between the local authority and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. This joint approach to commissioning also involved service users in informing and influencing change for more sustainable provision. As a result, there has been an evidenced increase in the ability to meet overnight needs for the children, young people and families of Worcestershire requiring this type of respite provision.

Individual (‘micro commissioning’) refers to the brokerage of an individual service tailored to meet a particular need. Commissioning at this level will set in place specific arrangements for individuals or small groups of people requiring particular attention (generally beyond the arrangements of universal services). An example is the commissioning of placements to meet children and young people’s specific education, care, and health needs. For instance:

“P has complex physical health needs requiring specialist health tasks throughout the day. The EHCP pathway was followed with parents to support P’s transition from nursery to mainstream primary education setting. Health contributed to the high-level needs budget to provide a single commissioner for package of care. They also simultaneously worked with education to ensure the Teaching Assistant was trained to provide health tasks with ongoing support from Community Nursing Team. P remains in mainstream education with his peer group from nursery, with siblings attending the same school.”

It is important to note that individual commissioning can also be the commissioning of an individual service to meet an identified need. For example, the commissioning of a ‘direct payment’ service for parents of children with disabilities. Some parent carers prefer to fund their own respite provision (whilst also having access to the Worcestershire local offer). The direct payment service is jointly commissioned by Adult (WCC) and Children’s (WCF) Social Care following the principles of co-production.

Download: Worcestershire’s SEND Charter (PDF)

Applying coproduction to the commissioning cycle

1. Analysis and understanding (Evaluate)

Joint research with citizens and communities to include their insight, knowledge and expertise to identify and define what's in scope, problems, possibilities and factors to include and consider:

  • lifestyles and support networks
  • aspirations
  • assets, strengths and interests
  • narrative and context to strategic assessments
  • gaps in the data and issues "hidden" from professionals and agency data

2. Options and planning (Design)

Joint development and design with citizens and communities of the concept, including the vision, outcomes and priorities to reference:

  • outcomes, outputs and inputs
  • strengths and assets based
  • relevant and accessible to users

3. Implementation (Source)

Joint assessment of bids, tenders and proposals with citizens and communities, including:

  • assessment of how relevant, useful and accessible different proposals, tenders or bids might be
  • assessment of the use of coproduction by bidding organisations in their proposals, bids or tenders

4. Delivery and outcomes (Review)

Ongoing and continuous joint oversight, assessment and review services with citizens and communities:

  • quality of what's being delivered
  • achievement of outcomes for citizens and communities
  • ongoing relevance and accessibility
  • continuos development and improvement

SEND Joint Commissioning Strategy 2021-2025

Download: SEND Joint Commissioning Strategy 2021-2025 (PDF)

SEND Responsibility Framework

Worcestershire Children First (WCF) have worked together with schools and parent carers to agree how we can work together to achieve better outcomes for our children and young people with SEND. The SEND Responsibility Framework describes how settings, parent carers and WCF’s SEND casework team can contribute to this shared aim. Over time we will update and add to the framework as we agree the responsibilities of other teams working with families. We welcome improvement suggestions from parent carers and educational settings as we use this Framework to guide our conversations and work together.

Ways that parent carers might use the Responsibility Framework:

  • to understand how they can support others to understand their child and achieve better outcomes together
  • to understand what they can expect from educational settings and the SEND casework team and how they can give feedback which brings about improvements

Ways that educational settings and the SEND casework team might use the Responsibility Framework:

  • to evaluate and make improvements to their approach to working with children with SEND and their parent carers

As settings we need to

  • make sure we know our children with SEND well and know what progress they are making
  • speak to parent carers if we have concerns about children’sprogress and let them know what we are doing about it
  • tell parent carers about children’s strengths and what is going well
  • ask parent carers what help they think their children need and acton this where we can
  • make sure all our staff have the skills and understanding they need to help our children
  • make sure our children with SEND are included in school life by making changes to the way we do things so they don’t miss out
  • listen to what children say about the help they need and act on this where we can
  • welcome children with SEND as valued members of our community from their first visits to our settings
  • involve other professionals when we need help to understand how to support children

What others can do to help us

  • talk to our teachers or to our Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos)
  • raise concerns with our Head Teachers or Governing Boards if things don’t get better
  • get involved in improving our work with children with SEND

As parent carers we need to

  • read and engage with information that is shared with us
  • build a relationship with people working with our children through regular open communication
  • come to meetings, tell others about our child (including their strengths), share our point of view and listen to others
  • help people working with our children understand what makes a difference for them and what is impacting on their lives
  • keep talking or writing to people working with our children if things aren't going well or when we disagree
  • let people know how to communicate with us effectively

What others can do to help us

  • talk to us about what is happening
  • ask if we need support
  • offer us support and strategies which will help our child
  • keep us informed about the information that needs to be shared with other professionals

As WCF SEND team we need to

  • consider Education Health and Care Needs Assessment requests carefully, looking at all the evidence If the evidence does support the need for an assessment to go ahead, tell parent carers and settings why and what they can do next
  • complete an assessment within 20 weeks, where one has been agreed
  • answer any questions parent carers and settings have quickly using plain English
  • listen to and value a variety of opinions throughout the assessment and involve parent carers as much as possible during the process
  • keep talking to parent carers and settings if things aren't going well or when we disagree
  • talk to parent carers about our decisions and help them understand what they can do if they disagree
  • review children’s Education Health and Care Plans every year and update their plans with agreed changes
  • support and challenge settings if we don’t think they are doing what they need to for our children with SEN

What others can do to help us

  • talk to us start with the SEN Caseworker and if you don’t see the changes you want, talk to a manager
  • raise concerns and tell us when things have gone well using our complaints and compliments policy
  • take part in our annual parent carer or setting SEND survey

Download: SEND Responsibility Framework (PDF)

Compliments and complaints

There are different teams that respond to compliments, comments and complaints depending on what you would like to speak about:

If you’re unsure about whom you need to contact about your complaint, or what to do, the SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) is available via email or phone to support children, young people and their families with a variety of questions and concerns. They are not there to handle or process complaints, but they are impartial professionals who can explain the processes involved in making a complaint to a service.

EHCP Quality Assurance 'You said, we did' reports

As part of Worcestershire Children First’s commitment to improving services we have a Quality Assurance programme. Part of this programme includes collecting feedback from parents/carers following the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) process where a new Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) has been issued or following the annual review (AR) of an existing one.

The surveys are for us to learn what is working well and what areas we need to improve and are designed to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Links to the relevant questionnaire are sent to all parents/carers after a new plan is issued or following an AR for them to complete independently. In addition around 25 parents/carers per month are randomly selected and contacted by phone for their feedback.

Quarterly reports are produced from the data collected, which are shared internally and are used to help improve services.

We also want to show families the difference their feedback is making and so have produced a ‘You said, we did’ style report. We have analysed the comments made by all the parents/carers, grouping them into themes, and then reported on the changes to processes we have instigated because of the feedback.

We intend to update and publish the report bi-annually, the first report can be found below.

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