The Local Offer provides information on what services children, young people and their families can expect from a range of local agencies, including education, health and social care. Knowing what is out there gives you more choice and therefore more control over what support is right for your child.
We have been listening to feedback and working hard on creating a new website intended to offer clearer, more comprehensive and accessible information for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families.
The views of parents and young people are at the heart of the development of the Local Offer and all other processes linked to the implementation of the Children and Families Act.
We have been using the feedback from our local families to help shape improvements to our existing Local Offer and a new Local Offer website is now available (in beta testing):
We welcome our residents to use this and give us feedback.
Consultation with young people themselves is crucial for the development and improvement of our Local Offer. A priority is to capture more feedback from children and young people with additional needs to ensure the Local Offer directly supports those that it is intended for. We are currently planning further engagement via schools and colleges to work with young people groups to capture their views.
A dedicated Parents’ Reference Group was formed so that the views of parents could be represented at a strategic level. This group includes representatives from Westminster Parent Participation Group, along with employees from the local Independent Advice and Support Service (IASS) and independent supporters. Through attendance at meetings and workgroups, and undertaking consultations with local parents, this group has been invaluable in the development of the Local Offer so far.
We understand that this is just the start, and will be continuing with the Parent Reference Group to ensure that parents and young people are able to support us with the constant development of our Local Offer. Please keep checking back for updates on progress and details of any events that you will be able to take part in.
We have updated our parental support page with information on local Independent Advice and Support Service and independent supporters.
We will be regularly reviewing our local offer and we are keen to hear what you think. If you have any comments on any aspect of the local offer, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your feedback is used to shape/influence the services we provide to you and encourages improvements to how we deliver the Local Offer. We have been engaging with families across the tri-borough to obtain comments. Information or updates on how we intend to use the feedback is summarised in the responses shown below:
"The layout of the information and the website is a barrier to using the Local Offer."
We have been making regular changes to try and make our existing website clearer and easier to navigate. We are working hard on a brand new website, to launch early 2016, using feedback from families to shape the creation of this. Our vision for the new site is to present you with a Local Offer that is as clear, comprehensive and accessible as possible.
"I want to see information available in alternate languages."
The Westminster City Council website features a ‘Google translate’ function for translating content. We are reducing the number of PDF documents on the Local Offer to ensure that more and more content is compatible with this tool. We will be working with parent reference groups across the tri-borough to test how accurate the translation of information is.
"I would like to see details of who to complain to and the process."
"Emphasise the contact available to speak to (and when)."
All new services we add to the Local Offer will now be asked for more detailed contact information including: how to complain, who to complain to and when the contacts are available to speak to. We will also be updating existing information and adding this extra information as we obtain it.
"I would like the Local Offer to include information on courses offered by colleges - costs, contacts and course hours."
The Local Offer currently provides contact details and information on further education and local colleges available to residents but signposts to contact the colleges for more in depth information. We are looking at the technical capabilities of our new website and how we can work with education providers to include more detailed information like this, directly on the Local Offer website.
The Children and Families Act 2014 requires all local authorities and health commissioner services to provide an independent mediation and dispute resolution service to help when parents, carers, young people, schools, health care services and the authority can't agree on how to meet a child or young person's special educational needs.
For information on early years providers and childcare, please visit the Family Information Service.
Queensmill Special School, a school that the borough places children in regularly, has been presented with the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award by Observer Food Monthly. The Observer Food Monthly Awards 2015 recognised school chef Lucio Polli de Carvalho and former head teacher Jude Regan for the transformation made to school meals at Queensmill School, London, supporting many students with autism to help overcome their difficulties with food.
We are also pleased to confirm that the school has recently received an Outstanding Ofsted report.
We have just published issue two of our Children and Families Act newsletter.