Lancashire Short Break Services Statement

April 2017

What should be provided?

Legislative background

Paragraph 6(1)(c) of Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 requires local authorities to provide services designed to give breaks for carers of disabled children and young people (CYP). Regulations relating to this duty, which came into force on 1 April 2011, require each local authority to produce a Short Breaks Services Statement so that families know what services are available, the eligibility criteria for these services, and how the range of services is designed to meet the needs of families with disabled CYP in their area.

The Children and Families Act 2014 has a number of changes to the way children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) receive support in the future.

As required, this statement will be regularly monitored at meetings of the Lancashire Parent Carer Forum and a formal and detailed review will be scheduled.

Due to the SEND Reforms, internal Lancashire County Council transformation, refresh of the parent carer participation structure and the new corporate strategy, which responds to the unprecedented financial pressures caused by austerity measures, the statement review has been delayed. Once these are all in place the statement will be reviewed to incorporate the new way of working.

This will enable Lancashire County Council to align any future consultation processes or revisions with service planning and commissioning cycles (which typically are aligned with financial years) to ensure that we proceed with a valid mandate.

It is anticipated the new way of working will be confirmed, agreed and delivery commenced by the beginning of 2018. At this point a refreshed short break statement will be available.

Lead officer responsible for the statement

The lead officer responsible for preparing the statement is, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Service Family Support Manager who reports to the Head of SEND Services. Any queries on the process for producing and agreeing the statement should be addressed to the Family Support Manager at FIND@lancashire.gov.uk

The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011

This section of the statement summarises paragraph 6(1)(c) of Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 which requires local authorities to provide services designed to give breaks for carers of disabled CYP.

In order to meet the requirements of the regulations, Local Authorities must have regard to the needs of carers in respect of their capacity to care for, or continue to care for, their disabled child, and must provide a range of services designed to meet this need. A Short Break Services Statement must also be prepared and published.

Duty to make provision

Local authorities must take into account the needs of carers who would:

  • be unable to continue caring for their child unless breaks from caring were given
  • be able to give more effective care if breaks were given to allow them to, for example, meet the needs of other CYP in the family, or carry out necessary day-to-day tasks in the household.

Types of services which must be provided

Local authorities must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide a range of services sufficient to meet the needs of carers to care, or care more effectively, including:

  • Day care in the child’s own home and elsewhere
  • Overnight care in the child’s own home and elsewhere
  • Educational or leisure activities for CYP outside their own homes
  • Services in the evenings, at weekends and during school holidays

Short breaks services statement

Local authorities must prepare a statement for carers setting out:

  • the range of services available;
  • any eligibility criteria for these services; and
  • how the range of services is designed to meet the needs of carers

This statement must

  • be prepared and reviewed with regard to the views of carers in the area
  • be published on the local authority website
  • be kept under review and, where appropriate, revised

What is available in Lancashire?

Lancashire Short Breaks Services Statement

This Short Break Services Statement for Lancashire County Council was produced at a time when the future provision of short breaks within the authority is undergoing significant change.

The Authority undertook a consultation from December 2012 to March 2013 on the whole range of Short Breaks. The outcome was the agreement of the Short Break Strategy.

As a result of the work undertaken during and subsequently to the Aiming High for Disabled Children Short Break Transformation Programme, Lancashire County Council believed that it was in a strong position to provide a good range of short break services. Many of these services are provided as a result of its partnership with the Lancashire Parent Carer Forum. However work is ongoing to refresh the strategy to enable families, and their CYP, to have real choices about the services that they access and when they access them.

Due to the 2014 SEND Reforms, internal Lancashire County Council transformation, refresh of the parent carer participation structure and the new corporate strategy, all short break provision is under review.

It is anticipated the new way of working will be confirmed, agreed and delivery commenced by the beginning of 2018. At this point a refreshed short break statement will be available.

Range of services available and eligibility criteria

1. Universal services

Lancashire County Council believes that as many disabled CYP as is possible should be able to access and enjoy universal short break services.

A significant amount of work was undertaken through the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme with universal services to make them more accessible and welcoming to disabled CYP and their families.

It is envisaged that this work will be developed through further discussions currently in progress about the Lancashire Break Time scheme (described in the next section of this report), which will encourage families to access clubs, activities and facilities in their local communities.

During the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme a significant sum of capital funding was invested with some of the Borough Councils across Lancashire in the development of accessible play spaces across the county.

The Aiming High for Disabled Children capital funding also provided additional changing facilities across the county in a variety of settings to provide more accessible services as well as developing outdoor centre facilities, and specially adapted cycles were purchased for community use.

A training programme aimed at improving universal service providers’ skills in working with and supporting disabled CYP was also rolled out as part of the Aiming High programme across the county.

2. Targeted services

Whilst Universal Services are important, it is recognised that some disabled CYP will need additional support to access them, or may need to access groups or services that are specifically designed to meet their needs.

Following on from the very successful Aiming High for Disabled Children Short Break programme in Lancashire, the County Council identified in February 2011 £3.5 million per year for each of the next two financial years, towards the delivery of short break provision for CYP with disabilities and their families.

In making the announcement, the Cabinet Member for Children and Schools was clear that the decision on how this money should be spent should primarily be driven through parental consultation. As a result a sub group of the Lancashire Parent Carer Forum was established to identify a programme of non-assessed short breaks.

The criteria to access the Lancashire Break Time Scheme, as it is known, was shaped by parents and agreed at the Lancashire Parent Carer Forum as:

'A child or young person with disabilities or additional needs aged 0 - 18 years who lives in Lancashire and has difficulty accessing universal services'

Lancashire Break Time is currently under review due to the SEND Reforms, internal Lancashire County Council transformation, refresh of the parent carer participation structure and new corporate strategy.

During this period consultation and discussion will take place with parent carers and young people around the future format and delivery of targeted services.

3. Specialist services

Some CYP and their families will require even more support than is available through the universal and targeted services available in Lancashire. Access to these specialist short break services is through an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. EHC plans bring together a child’s education, health and social care needs into a single, legal document. The document sets out what extra support they will get to meet those needs.

The EHC plan will take account of the unique combination of the child’s disability, the circumstances of their home life and the wider context of their social environment, which means that each referral must be assessed on its individual merits.

How will we know that services meet the needs of Children and Young People with disabilities and their parents?

Participation

Lancashire County Council will continue to ensure that the views of parents and carers are represented at all stages.

This is through the Lancashire Parent Carer Forum and the agreed participation structure. Current discussions will enable a refreshed participation structure ensuring it conforms to the SEND Reforms and delivers the requirements of the local authority and parent carers in Lancashire.

Lancashire County Council wishes to improve the involvement of CYP in the strategic development and monitoring of services.

This is being established through Shaping SEND Together and the developing Collaborative Workshops

This will be delivered in partnership with the POWAR group and Youth Council. Work is currently taking place to strengthen disabled CYP participation to ensure their views are taken into account when planning service delivery. A participation strategy will be developed for disabled CYP, ensuring that it reflects best practice and a sufficient and appropriate range of opportunities.

Monitoring eligibility and assessment criteria

In accordance with parents and carers views the Lancashire Break Time short break services provided by the authority does not require an assessment to be undertaken.

Any parents who have concerns about accessing short breaks are advised to contact their local SEND Service Teams. Where queries cannot be resolved informally, parent carers are able to use the formal complaints procedure and any such complaints are regularly monitored to ensure that these services are meeting needs effectively and efficiently.


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