Scrutiny focus on services for children with additional needs and disabilities

The Child and Family Services Scrutiny Panel looked at the up coming cabinet decision resulting from the commissioning review focusing on services for children with additional needs and disabilities.  The review looked at the options for changes to services available to children with additional needs and disabilities which have been identified through a wider review of Family Support Services.  Some of the areas the review covered include:

  • Parent/carer participation and engagement
  • Play and leisure opportunities
  • Home Care
  • Overnight breaks
  • Early Help
  • Young Carers

The panel after considering this report have written to Cabinet with their views. Below are some of the issues that the panel will highlight to Cabinet at its meeting on the 16 November:

1. It is good to see inclusion and a detailed consultation exercise to gain views of disability services from children and young people.
2. Interested to hear about the co-production with parents in developing services and welcome the development of a consultation mechanism with parents that will include a wide group of parents of children with additional needs. We did however emphasise the importance of ensuring we reach out to get views of those parents who may be less vocal or for whatever reason, find it difficult to engage.
4. They heard that there are a growing number of children with additional needs, which is an ongoing challenge for both local authorities and health authorities alike. Consequently they support the increase in funding going towards the Early Help Service. They recognise the need to develop better prevention services in conjunction with health and support the authority in the strive to engage health in future developments.
5. The report details that 11% of overall funding is made up of grants which in itself must be seen as a risk when moving forward. The Panel emphasised the importance of contingency planning should these grants stopped or be reduced.
6. Councillors understand that the introduction of a voucher scheme for play and leisure for children with additional needs is being considered. They would like to emphasise the importance of recognising the potential implications of this type of scheme for providers and parents. They were encouraged to hear that you plan to look at how this is working in other local authorities and to work closely with parents when considering this as an option.
7. Councillors were supportive of the recommendation around specialist services for young carers although they recognised that currently it is in its early stages.

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