Weekly political news round up – Friday 7th March 2014

March 7, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

The Local Government Ombudsman has published a report, SEN: Preparing for the Future, urging children with SEN to be treated fairly. Research conducted for the report revealed that complaints had been made to the ombudsman on the failure to provide specific SEN support such as qualified specialists, and poor planning for an individual’s support package. The ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin, has called it “unacceptable” that some children with special educational needs are having their education disrupted a result of councils failing to act quickly enough to provide support services.

The National Children’s Bureau has published guidance by the Anti-Bullying Alliance regarding the internet use of children with special educational needs, revealing the evidence of cyber-bullying and experiences of discriminatory behaviour. The findings found that many young people with SEN had experienced cyber-bullying and were using the internet to create an anonymous persona to mask their disability, or were actively avoiding the internet.

NHS England’s new Youth Forum was launched on Monday at the Health and Care Innovation Expo. The youth forum, which comprises of 20 young people – with the involvement of  thousands more via social media and partner organisations – discussed ways of working with partners to develop recommendations for improving communication between young people and clinicians. Participants in the forum also discussed issues such as being in a family of health care users and having received acute care or having long-term conditions.

Answer to written question on the assessment of special educational needs

Conservative MP Karen Lumley has received an answer to her written question asking the Education Secretary what monitoring procedures his department has in place to ensure that assessment of pupils’ special needs are accurate.

Children’s Minister Edward Timpson responded that local authorities are responsible for ensuring that assessments of special educational needs are accurate. He said that if local authorities decided not to issue an SEN statement following assessment, or if parents did not believe it accurately represented their child’s SEN, parents could appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) against their decision.

However, he added that SEN statements were being replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans following the Children and Families Bill, with rights of appeal being maintained and extended to young people.

Finally, he said that the SEN Code of Practice, which provides guidance on how and when to carry out education, health and care assessments, had been consulted on and that revisions were being made following the consultation.

Health and social care organisations establish the Coalition for Collaborative Care

A new coalition of organisations from across the health and social care sector was announced at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2014, hosted by NHS England. The Coalition for Collaborative Care is seeking to create a health and care system that enables people to work with healthcare professionals to improve how they live with their long term conditions.

The Coalition for Collaborate Care will be using an approach called the “House of Care”, which is a visual representation of the elements that need to be in place for health and care professionals to improve care and support planning. The House of Care will also help to link people with the community activities and social networks that build confidence and provide support in their daily lives. These social interventions build on and complement clinical care, connecting the clinical consultation with interventions such as peer support groups, befriending and one-to-one coaching.

It also seeks to institute change by improving a whole range of influencing factors from financial incentives for clinicians to the evidence base underpinning the approach; from training for healthcare professionals to developing networks of patient leaders. The Coalition claims that the focus is on action and on large-scale change – moving collaborative care from the early adopters to the mainstream.

The Coalition currently includes members such as the RCGP, NHS England, NHS Improving Quality, and the Health Foundation, and has expressed a desire to expand to include commissioners, providers and patient organisations.