Agenda item

Local Area SEND Inspection by Ofsted and CQC

(To receive a report by Sheridan Dodsworth, Children's Services Manager – SEND, which advises the Committee of the outcome of the Local Area Inspection undertaken jointly by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission)


The Committee gave consideration to a report from Sheridan Dodsworth, Children's Services Manager – SEND, which provided information about the outcome of the Local Area inspection, undertaken jointly by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, in October 2018. 


Attached to the report were the following Appendices:-


·       Appendix A – A copy of Lincolnshire's Final Outcome Letter; and 

·       Appendix B – An extract of the SEND Steering Group Action Plan.


Whilst guiding the Committee through the report, particular reference was made to the background behind the inspection; the three questions the inspection focussed on (These were detailed at the bottom of page 27 of the report).


The Committee noted that the inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had conducted focus groups with a wide range of professionals, and that when reaching their judgement, the inspectors had also tested the accuracy and rigour of the local area's self-evaluation; to the extent as to whether the Council knew it's strengths and weaknesses, and whether appropriate development plans were in place.


It was noted further that the inspectors had also met with the Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum, and parents and carers across the county to understand how well the local area engaged with parents and carers, their children and young people.  The inspectors had also met with children and young people to hear their experiences.  The Committee was advised that a week-long on-line survey had also taken place to enable parents and carers to feedback their experiences of the support their children had received through the wide range of services and organisations in the county. 


A copy of the final report was detailed at Appendix A to the report.  The report highlighted the main strengths the inspectors recognised throughout the inspection, as well as the areas identified by the inspectors requiring further development.


In conclusion, the Committee was advised that the joint Ofsted and CQC inspection had identified many strengths in Lincolnshire; areas that needed improvement.  It was highlighted that there had been no surprises with regard to the development areas highlighted, as these had mirrored those the Local Authority and the Clinical Commissioning Group had identified as part of the Self-Evaluation, and that these formed part of the wider action plan, which was detailed at Appendix B to the report.  The Committee gave consideration to the said Action Plan.


The Committee was also advised that congratulations had also been received from the Children's Minister on the report; and to the reduced number of tribunals.


During debate, the Committee raised the following points:-


·       The need to promote and communicate the Local Offer better to ensure that families and practitioners were all aware of it;

·       The need to ensure that more information was fed into the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment;

·       That the waiting times for the diagnosis of autism were too long; and that more support was needed.  A question was asked whether this had been included in the NHS Long Term Plan.  Confirmation was given that there would be an action plan concerning this matter, and that work was on-going with health colleagues, and that there was likely to be an improvement over the next few months.  Some concern was expressed relating to the impact the delay had on the young people and their families.  Officers highlighted that a diagnosis would not change the need of a young person and that schools and professionals would be able to meet the needs of the young person without a diagnosis.  It was highlighted further that there was a significant waiting time for assessment in Lincolnshire, and that less than 50% actually received a diagnosis following assessment.  The new pathway enabled self-help and early intervention.  It was noted that families needed to be made aware of the pathway in order to support the young person better. The Committee noted further that the number of children who received a medical response was small;

·       Some concern was raised with regard to the checks for two and a half year olds, as it was felt that the whole process had now become more complicated.  It was highlighted that the two and half year old check was the last mandatory check prior to starting school.  It was highlighted that a two, two and half year old education check was conducted in early year's settings.  Officers highlighted that steps were being taken to look into combining checks, providing them in the evenings, and at the week-end, and joining up with early years' settings.  It was also highlighted that sometimes experienced parents did not feel the need to have the check and therefore did not attend;

·       Congratulations were extended to officers for their achievements;

·       One member highlighted that the Committee needed to consider how the plan was going to be monitored going forward;

·       The Committee was advised that moderate learning would be monitored through the action plan; and

·       One member enquired what influence the local authority would have where an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) was in place within an Academy setting.  The Committee was advised that the local authority had a duty to challenge all schools.  If there were concerns about a school, the local authority would work with the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the Department for Education (DfE).  It was noted that the same applied to independent schools and home schooling; the local authority had the same responsibility.


In conclusion, the Committee welcomed the excellent report and the outcomes that had arisen from it.




1.      That the outcomes of the Local Area SEND inspection report by Ofsted and the CQC be received.


2.      That the Action Plan in response to the inspection report be considered by the Children and Young Scrutiny Committee at a future meeting.

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