Weekly political news round up – 11th March 2016

March 11, 2016 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Health Education England’s Director of Nursing, has told NHS trusts that they cannot use nursing associates as a substitute for registered nurses. However, she rejected claims that nursing associates would increase risks to patients, and that they would have consistent standards of education designed to increase patient safety. Nursing associates are expected to be based at band three or four and sit between healthcare assistants and registered nurses, and will be able to provide direct patient care under supervision of existing registered nursing staff.

The Public Accounts Committee has published a report assessing access to general practice in England. It found that whilst most patients trust their GP and have a positive experience of getting and booking appointments, their ability to get an appointment has declined in recent years and the proportion of patients reporting problems accessing general practice has increased. The report found that younger people, those from minority ethnic groups and those in deprived areas have poorer access. It called for measures to increase the number of GPs and make better use of technology, as well as to ensure best practice is applied more widely.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has published the findings of a workforce survey, which found a need to increase the number of paediatric trainees as a result of more paediatricians choosing to undertake research or take parental leave. The report subsequently called on the Government to increase the number of paediatric trainees and for Health Education England (HEE) to work with the RCPCH and bodies across the UK to better ensure training places are better mapped.

The House of Commons library has published a briefing paper overviewing the structure of NHS England, the responsibilities of each body and several of the key issues facing the health service. A brief overview

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission publish a response to its consultation on the inspection of local area SEND provision

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have published a joint response to its consultation on its proposed framework for the inspection of local area SEND provision, which it consulted on between October 2015 and January 2016.

The PCF submitted a response which called for Ofsted and the CQC to inspect how well staff work across health and education to provide joined up care, and to take into account the views of children on the identification. The PCF also called on inspectors to assess how satisfied parents and carers are with the level and accessibility of their local service provision, with an emphasis on ensuring that care is integrated. Furthermore, the PCF called on inspectors to conduct an overview of commissioning arrangements in the local area, and that local partners like Healthwatch should be consulted with to gauge existing concerns (if any).  Finally, the PCF called on the CQC to ensure a wide range of options to engage with parents, including a roundtable discussion.

Ofsted and the CQC noted that the overall response to all four of their proposals were “very positive”. Below is a summary of the responses for each proposal, as well as what the CQC and Ofsted will do in light of the consultations findings:

Proposal 1: how effectively a local area identifies children and young people with SEND

There was a “very strong” agreement that inspectors should evaluate how timely the local area identifies needs, and how accurately and weekly needs are assessed. There was also an agreement that the inspection framework should focus on the quality and usefulness of information provided for the purpose of assessment and how well parents, families, children and young people were included in the assessment. Some respondents felt that the proposal should inspect the work of health and social care as well.

Inspectors will now:

  • Evaluate how effectively local areas communicate so that all parties understand how needs are identified and decisions are reached;
  • Give particular emphasis to involvement in strategic joint commissioning and involvement in the assessment of their own case;
  • Report on the local areas effectiveness in supporting children and young people with specific needs; and
  • Inspectors will examine how the local area takes account of children and young people’s wishes and feelings when making decisions.

Proposal 2: how effectively the local area meets the needs and improves the outcomes of children and young people with SEND

There was “considerable” agreement that the progress that children and young people make towards the next stage of education or life should be evaluated based on their starting points, and that this should be a key area that Ofsted and the CQC inspect. Respondents felt that wider outcomes should be considered, including aspects such as improved health and employability. There was also very strong agreement from parents and from children and young people that inspectors should take into account their views about how satisfied they are that their needs were met, with parents agreeing that the impact of early diagnosis and intervention should be evaluated.

Inspectors will now:

  • Review education, training, health and social care outcomes as well as academic outcomes;
  • How well the local areas’ processes, culture and ways of working add value to young peoples’ progress, taking account of their starting points;
  • Review the breadth of needs catered for by a local area;
  • How well the local area meets the needs of specific groups; and
  • Ensure that the local offer examines the clarity of decisions on identifying need and the resources allocated to support needs.

Proposal 3: a wide range of information will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of local area arrangements in identifying children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities

Respondents agreed that inspectors should engage with parents, carers and children and young people to inform their evaluations. Moreover, respondents also said that inspectors should examine how well schools, other providers and the local area met their statutory obligations, and ensured that all staff were trained and knowledgeable. Some respondents commented about a lack of reference in the proposals to an evaluation of joint commissioning between education, health and social care.

Inspectors will now:

  • Evaluate how well the local area knows it is fulfilling its statutory duties and meeting children and young people’s needs and improving outcomes;
  • Assess how well children and young people’s life chances and being enhanced by the support and services they receive;
  • Include an examination of case studies, inspection reports and tribunal data, as well as evidence of outcomes; and
  • Consider how well those responsible for provision understand the key strengths and issues in the local area.

Proposal 4: a wide range of ways will be used during the inspection to obtain the views of children and young people with SEND, and their parents and carers

Some respondents expressed concern about who would select parents and young people from whom views would be gathered, with some suggesting that children and young people who are receiving support and did not have an EHCP or statement should also be included. Respondents requested that inspectors give good notice to parents to request to meet and discuss their views, with others suggesting that parent forums, support groups and other bodies who represent parents should be asked to contribute to inspection.

Inspectors will now:

  • Meet with groups of parents and carers that are representative of the local area;
  • Use the views of parents to inform their evaluation of the effectiveness of the local area;
  • Give five days’ notice of the inspection; and
  • Be recruited with a relevant processional background in SEND.

Ofsted and the CQC will now develop an inspection framework and the inspection handbook, which will provide guidance on how they will inspect. The first inspections will take place from May 2016.

Answers to written questions on disabilities in schools

Shadow Children’s Minister Sharon Hodgson has received an answer to a written question asking the Education Secretary what estimate she has made of the cost of including data by type of disability in the school census.

Children’s Minister Ed Timpson responded that no estimate has been made of the cost of including data by type of disability in the school census, and the DfE is exploring if there are other ways of capturing details of pupils’ disability.

Answers to written questions on Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission

Shadow Children’s Minister Sharon Hodgson has received an answer to a written question asking the Education Secretary how much additional funding for 2016-17 her Department has allocated to (a) Ofsted and (b) the Care Quality Commission to support their inspection of the effectiveness of local areas in fulfilling their new special educational needs and disabilities duties.

Children’s Minister Ed Timpson responded that for the financial year 2016-2017, the DfE allocated £1,057,675 of funding to enable them to meet the costs of their inspections of local areas’ effectiveness in fulfilling their new special educational needs and disabilities duties.