Changes to Lancashire's Short Break service
Thursday, March 12, 2020
There will be a new consultation on proposed changes to Lancashire County Council's Short Break Offer for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
At its meeting today (Thursday 12 March), cabinet agreed to give the young people's families and carers the opportunity to share their views on the latest proposals.
Short break services offer support to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families. They allow carers the opportunity to take a break from their caring role.
Currently, short break services include Lancashire Break Time, where young people are supported to take part in activities at community venues for up to several hours at a time. There are also day time and overnight short break services accessed by children and young people who have had social care assessments.
There has been a review of these services, where council officers worked alongside parents and carers, children and young people and short break service providers to consider how the service should look in the future. A more joined-up offer is proposed, made up of three elements – Break-time, Day-time and Night-time:
• Children and young people would be able to use Break-time if they have a learning difficulty or physical or sensory difficulty; they live in Lancashire; and they do not live with or are supported by paid carers.
• Children and young people could attend from the start of the academic year in which they turn five years-old, up until the end of the academic year they become 18 years-old.
• The Break-time offer is a minimum of 10 hours and a maximum of 50 hours of activities a year.
• Families will be able to purchase additional hours if they wish. They may also be able to access additional hours if it is identified as a need following a social care assessment.
• Families would contribute £2 per hour per break time activity, instead of the current charge of £1, which has not been increased for ten years, in addition to specific activity costs or entrance fees.
Children and young people aged 0 to 18 years would be able to access Day-time and Night-time short breaks, if this is identified as a need following a social care assessment.
In addition, there is also a proposal on a new way of procuring short break services. This will help to widen the range and quality of the support available across the county.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: "These new proposals are based on work we've done with young people who use the services, their families, and the care providers following the previous Break-time consultation, which we ran last year.
"People's responses showed us our Short Break Service is valued, but that it could be improved. The new proposals would ensure Break-time can be accessed in a much fairer way so everyone can make use of the hours they are entitled to.
"There is a fee increase from £1 to £2 per hour. The current charge was set 10 years ago and care costs have increased considerably since then. The new rate would mean we could cover the costs for the service to ensure it can be provided in a sustainable way.
"We've also looked at the Day-time and Night-time short break services and how they can work in conjunction with Break-time.
"The improvements being put forward would help to make better use of all the short break and care options for children with special educational needs and disabilities so that everyone has better and fairer access to these vital services.
"These are only proposals at this stage and we will now go out to consultation so that people have the opportunity to share their views before any decision is made."
The county council will publicise dates and details of the consultation once the arrangements have been finalised.
For more information and to see webcasts from the meeting once they have been uploaded, visit the cabinet agenda and minutes page