On Thursday 18th July NNPCF cochairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia met with Nadhim Zahawi, the Undersecretary of State for Children and Families.
In the meeting, Tina and Mrunal, discussed our recent State of the Nation report with the Minister. He indicated he was familiar with the issues raised in our report (the NNPCF and others in the sector have raised these themes with him and his officials previously). In particular, he emphasized that the concerns of our members that funding for SEND was not sufficient to deliver the services that families with SEND need has been understood by the department. He stated that the Department for Education was keen to seeking to secure more funding for SEND from the Treasury in any upcoming comprehensive spending review. Tina and Mrunal offered to assist the Department for Education to make its case with the Treasury in the context of many competing demands from other government departments. You can find a copy of our state of the nation here:
Tina and Mrunal also called for a cross governmental strategy for SEND. There is agreement across the whole SEND sector about the nature of the challenges our children face. With the launch of the NHS long term plan and the new SEND system leadership board, there is an opportunity to create a single, co-ordinated cross -governmental action plan to address the issues that are being highlighted across the whole sector. The Minister was warm to the idea of a cross governmental action plan and asked his officials to explore the idea with the NNPCF.
Tina and Mrunal also discussed the need for a consistent and shared definition and approach to co-production across the whole sector. The Minister understood the need for better understanding, practice and assessment of coproduction and we will be working with the Department for Education over the coming months to progress our ideas. We will, of course, coproduce this with local parent carer forums and our partners in the sector.
Finally, everyone recognized that the appointment of a new Prime Minister may mean changes at all levels of government. Nevertheless, the NNPCF will continue to represent the views of forums to Ministers and officials.