Achieving for Children

Response to Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman report

14 January 2020

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman LGSCO has published a report criticising Richmond Council and Achieving for Children for not effectively supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Ian Dodds, Director of Children’s Services for Richmond Council, said:

“Providing high quality special educational needs and disability services and appropriate support for the children and families who need them is a number one priority for Richmond Council and Achieving for Children.

“Implementation of the 2014 SEND Reforms has been an enormous challenge for all local councils, particularly in a context of increasing need for support and raised expectations without adequate government funding to support their effective delivery to all the children and families who need them.

“The LGSCO report is accepted in full and clearly shows that there were significant failings for some children and young people between 2016 and 2017. This does not reflect what I want to see in place for every child and young person. It does show that Richmond Council and Achieving for Children were slow to recognise the increased demands of the 2014 Act and our sincerest apologies have been extended to the families of the children and young people the Ombudsman has reported on.

“Since the period of the Ombudsman’s investigations, much has been achieved and significant investment has been made locally. There is new leadership in place and a renewed commitment to continuous improvement of local SEND services through our SEND Partnership Board. Other improvements include:

“The proof of the pudding is always in the eating, and I believe that our additional investment is already making a difference. 95% of our Education, Health and Care Plans are completed within the 20-week deadline, and are increasingly of a good quality, compared to 60% nationally. In addition, early indications from the feedback we now systematically collect from parents and carers shows that the large majority have confidence in our assessment process and in the quality of the final Education, Health and Care Plan for their child. The progress and attainment of children with SEND in Richmond remains strong and is consistently above national benchmarks. There is more work to do, though, and I am committed to working with our statutory and voluntary partners and, importantly, with our new Parent-Carer Forum to ensure further improvement.”

LGSCO website

LGSCO report (on the LGSCO website)


4 February 2020

Updates

We will be publishing regular updates on this page on our AfCinfo website.

Achieving for Children