Minister for children and families SEND Review

NNPCF Steering Group meeting with Minister Will Quince

On Tuesday 18th January the NNPCF Steering group met with the Parliamentary Undersecretary for Children and Families Minister Will Quince.

It was a 45-minute meeting where we gave the Minister stories of why and what we need to be included into the SEND review. The subjects included:

  • The importance of national clarity about what should be ordinarily available and how this feed into every aspect of a child and young person’s outcomes.

o What happens when these ordinarily services available aren’t clearly set out.

o The importance of services working together, our example was transport

o How local variations can damage outcomes and services

  • The need for clear accountability in the system, between local authorities, schools and regional schools commissioners
  • The need for listening to families on local decisions and the importance of coproduction at all levels.

We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to feed into the review and the consultation that follows. We have asked that communications for the consultation is made clear and the process that follows.

We have offered to support the communications, to enable as many people to engage with the consultation as much as possible.

Jo Gilliland, the NNPCF steering group member for the North East said after the meeting, ““We are all aware of the need for clear accountability in the system between local authorities, schools and regional schools commissioners, I had the opportunity to inform Minister Quince of a situation within my region (North East & Cumbria) where the impact of the lack of accountability, is having wide reaching implications for a cohort of young people and their families. Not only is this situation leading to distress, but the reality of the situation is such that there may not be any further suitable post 16 provision in borough, which in turn leads to families seeking more costly suitable provision (and transport) out of borough. The impact upon the education, life skills, peer relationships, mental

health and future prospects of these young people is great, especially if no suitable provision can be found. Minister Quince, agreed that systems need to be held accountable for such decisions and the need to work together jointly to ensure accountability is paramount.”

Sarah Clarke, the NNPCF steering group member for the South East commented that, “The Minister too was onboard with how a well-defined Ordinarily Available improves how local services work together, increases family’s confidence when speaking to services and allocates clear areas of responsibility across the services.”

To see our SEND review updates, check out:

Education NNPCF work SEND Review

SEND Review Update: NNPCF

NNPCF Co-Chairs continue to attend SEND Review Steering Group and represent views of parents and forums but the NNPCF is also heavily involved in the wider sector response to the review.

One example of this is our work with the Special Educational Consortium (SEC) of which the NNPCF is a member.

SEC is a group of organisations who protect and promote the rights of disabled children and children with special educational needs (SEND) and provide a unified voice for the sector. They work with the government, the Department for Education, members of Parliament and other organisations when there are proposals for changes in policy, legislation, regulations and guidance that may affect disabled children and children with SEN.

We believe it is really important that all parental and sector voices are heard by the Review Team and at the last SEC meeting, members were joined by Charles Lang from DfE who is leading the SEND Review. The following key areas were discussed:

  1. Keep it early: early action to identify and meet needs
  2. Keep children in school: focus on the quality of universal provision in settings, schools and colleges
  3. Keep children local: an integrated approach, locally delivered
  4. A recovery programme for all

SEC had compiled a list of 20 asks of the SEND review that the NNPCF have contributed to and which aligns with the messages that the NNPCF have given the SEND review. What we need from the SEND review: NNPCF co-chairs brief Children and Families Minister Will Quince – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C

We encourage parents to keep talking to their local forums and forums to keep feeding back to NNPCF top ensure that your views are represented in the SEND review. Please share your views with your regional NNPCF steering group member and you can also send your thoughts to

consultations Education Ofsted

Ofsted’s consultation on the online education accreditation scheme

Ofsted have launched a new blog around quality assuring full time online education. The blog can be read here;

Quality assuring providers of full-time online education – Ofsted: schools, early years, further education and skills (

As part of this, they have also launched a consultation which seeks the views on how Ofsted should fulfil its role as the quality assurance body for the Department for Education (DfE)’s Online Education Accreditation Scheme.

The survey can be accessed here;

Open consultation overview: Consultation on Ofsted’s role in the Online Education Accreditation Scheme – GOV.UK (

consultations Department for Education SEND Review

Latest developments on the SEND Review

NNPCF to join SEND review steering group

The SEND review has now been running for over 2 years and there has been increasing frustration and speculation about the progress of the work.

When the review was set up in 2019, we were not invited to join the review in a formal capacity. At the time, we highlighted the review would lack legitimacy without direct parental input.

However, we have now been asked to join the SEND review steering group. Because we continue to believe that coproduction and a strong family voice is essential, we have decided to accept the invitation.

We will be sharing the same messages we have been for the last two years

Even though, we haven’t been a formal member of the review until now, we have made strong and consistent representations into the review for the past two years.

 In its initial phases in 2019 we arranged a series of local, regional and national events to ensure that the parent-carer voice was heard by the SEND team and insisted that parents should have simple routes to contribute. You can find our representations on WHAT needed to change here: NNPCF conference gives SEND Review seven clear messages – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C

After this, we have continued to work on our input into the review (via the many groups, boards, and established relationships we have access to) and in March 2021, we presented a webinar at our conference on HOW we should deliver the improved outcomes for children and young people with SEND through changing minimum standards, funding, accountability and reporting in the SEND system. You can find this webinar here: NNPCF input into the SEND review – YouTube. The presentation is here Microsoft PowerPoint – NNPCF input in to the SEND review.

We will continue to be transparent and seek to work with colleagues in the SEND sector to influence the review

We have met with other SEND groups including the Special Educational Consortium, the Disabled Children’s Partnership and the Let us Learn Too campaign – all of these groups are asking for similar changes to the system as the NNPCF. These and other groups also do important work representing families. We believe these messages should be heard through as many channels as possible via both campaigning and coproduction

consultations DWP

Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper

In the summer, the government published Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper which sets out proposals on how the Government can help people to live more independently, including support to start, stay and succeed in work and ways to improve the experience people have of the benefits system.

On 4th October the NNPCF facilitated a Green Paper consultation event with representatives from the DWP Policy Group Disability and Housing Support unit to and members of parent carer forums.

The event focussed on:

  1. DLA to PIP transition
  2. The PIP assessment process and collection of evidence
  3. Employment and Health discussions.

Parent representatives raised several key issues that we want to make sure the DWP considers through the consultation process including:

  • Seeing your SEND teenager becoming an adult is an particularly anxious and challenging time which needs careful preparation and planning. This can be overwhelming for young people and their families.
  • We know our children best.  Listen to our voices and value the evidence we provide.
  • Guidance is required for families around Mental Capacity in terms of who should complete the PIP application form – their young person or the parent carer?
  • Some young people say NO and refuse to apply for PIP because they think they do not need support (when they do) or do not want to be ‘different’.
  • The current assessment process is inconsistent and stressful. The administration is crippling on top of our caring roles.  Assessments have a huge impact on people’s lives.
  • Assessments are too rigid.  Conditions can vary daily, depending on the environment or individual needs/circumstances.  Some conditions will change over time. 
  • Descriptors need to allow for the support that a young person may need to carry out everyday tasks and whether this skill is transferable.
  • Training is required for assessors and decision makers in order understand our lived experiences and impact of the disability on each young person.
  • Please do not ask us to have to repeat our stories.  Please stop reassessments for young people with severe/complex needs and lifelong conditions.
  • DWP should make use of other information and evidence that is available. This information needs to reflect the current needs of the young person and the impact on their ability to carry out day to day tasks.
  • Seeking additional health evidence at the current time is not realistic.  Families do not want to have to pay for these reports.
  • Please ensure that employment support is targeted to the right people, at the right time and in the right way.
  • There needs to be more confidence and trust in the system.  As young people are supported into work and benefits are reduced, there needs to be process in place should the employment break down.

The NNPCF would like the DWP to:

  1. Consider the different types of needs and what evidence would be appropriate to be submit for each condition.
  2. ‘Walk along side families’ and assess our children and young people over time.  Only ask families to provide missing evidence rather than repeat our stories.
  3. Work with other government departments to understand the range of potential evidence that is available e.g. DLA assessments, EHC Plans, Care plans, Health Care Plans (whilst recognising the variation in quality and specific purpose of these).
  4. Ensure that the proposals set out in the Green paper will enable our young people to reach their potential and support better life outcomes.
  5. Ensure that evidence submitted by the parent carer is weighted equally with evidence submitted by professionals by the decision maker.
  6. Ensure that all professionals involved in the assessment process are aware of neuro diverse conditions as well as physical conditions.

The NNPCF will be submitting a response to the consultation which closes on 11th October 2021 and we would encourage parent carers and forums to also respond.

consultations NHS England

The Draft Core Capabilities Framework for the Transition of Young People into Adult Services in England-national consultation


The Framework articulates the core capabilities describing the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by all healthcare staff working with young people who are transitioning to adult services. Currently there is no national framework that addresses this need.

This Framework is part of a wider programme of work and will build upon and be complementary to previous and current work undertaken by NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) and the Burdett National Transition Nursing Network. It will support this ongoing work of the need for the successful transition of young people between children’s and adult services as identified by the NHS Long Term Plan.

The current draft capabilities have been developed by a national steering group of experts as well as young people and parents. We are going out to wider consultation on the capabilities themselves which will form the key part of the Framework document. The Framework will also describe the context and background. 

The development of a Core Capabilities Framework will provide the health sector with a starting point to identify education and training currently available, as well as identifying any gaps. In the future this will assist the application of a consistent approach to training for the successful transition of young people between children’s and adult services.  It will be applicable to both clinical and non-clinical staff across all levels of roles in the workforce.

Whether you are a healthcare member of staff, young person, parent or carer your views are very important to the development of the Framework and thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.

The survey will be live from Monday 12th July until Sunday 22nd August 2021.

Link to more information and the survey:

Children and Young Person’s (CYP) Transformation Programme Team

Medical DirectorateNHS England & NHS Improvement

consultations NNPCF work SEND Review

NNPCF work to improve accountability in the SEND system

One of the four priority areas for the NNPCF this year is to improve the accountability across the SEND system – to ensure that those bodies with responsibilities to support children and young people with SEND actually deliver what they are required to (please see the presentation at our AGM in March for the other priorities Microsoft PowerPoint – AGM slides 20210315 (

We are actively working to improve this accountability across three separate projects:

The Single Route of Redress

For the last 3 years, a national trial has been running that allows the SEND tribunal to make non-binding judgements on health and social care services, if there is also a valid educational concern. The evaluation period for the trial has now ended and Ministers are due to make a decision about whether to mainstream the trial powers of the tribunal. The trial period itself ends on the 31 August 2021.

The NNPCF has been clear that we would like to see this trial made permanent and has been participating in meetings with the Department for Education and the Ministry of Justice. Although not possible at present, we would also like to see the powers of the tribunal extended to make binding recommendations on health and social care in the future.

You can see the quarterly updates from the single route of redress national trial here Newsletters – Mott MacDonald (

Local area inspections

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have been looking at how the next round of local area inspections should be structured. It is clear that the focus will need to move from an implementation of the SEND reforms onto an assessment of how well local areas are meeting the needs of CYP with SEND and improving outcomes. As a part of this we would like to see the inspectorate focus on things such as how well do local education, health and care plan and deliver services together, how SEND money is spent in the system, early

intervention, inclusion in mainstream schools and coproduction with families and parent carer forums.

We are also pleased to see that the current round of local area inspection are due to resume. See the announcement and guidance from Ofsted. Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update – GOV.UK (

The SEND review

We also believe that legislative and regulatory changes to the SEND system are required to improve accountability. We have shared these ideas with the SEND review team. These include:

· A consistent national definition of services that available to families with some minimum standards

· Time limits lined for delivery of services

· Guidance on who pays for what across the system

· More transparency on how money is spent

· Gather smarter statistics to show where services are not meeting standards

You can see more on the input we have put into the SEND review in our presentation to the joint NNPCF / Contact conference in March.

consultations Social Care

NNPCF input into children’s social care review

In January, the government announced a review into children’s social care. Independent review of children’s social care – GOV.UK (

The NNPCF have been working with the review team to ensure the voice of parent carer forums is heard and that the review understands and considers the unique challenges faced by our families.

NNPCF co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia met with the officials leading the review in March. In our meeting, we described the work of parent carer forums and our unique role in representing the experiences of families and in coproducing improved outcomes. We also raised five issues that we wanted to make sure that the review considered:

  1. Support not safeguarding” – Much of the social care system is focussed on safeguarding and the approaches and systems are too often based in this model. CYP with SEND and their families need support from the social care system and the bias towards safeguarding means that families slip through the net and further families are reluctant to engage with social care.
  2. Input into EHCPs – PCFs report that social care input into EHCPs remains patchy- often there is no input or that input is very superficial.
  3. Consistency and criteria – there is a postcode lottery for social care services. Some areas recognise children with SEND and children in need, most do not; many areas have different (and high) thresholds for services.
  4. Availability of services – many social care services that families would benefit from are simply not available to too many. Thresholds and cuts mean that respite care, residential care and short breaks are in short supply. Children’s social care must be prioritised and funded properly.
  5. Prioritisation with the NHS integrated care systems – we must ensure that children’s social care is included in plans being developed by the new integrated care systems.

We have arranged a series of engagement events with the social care team. These include:

  • Attendance at regional NNPCF meetings in the Yorkshire and Humber and London regions to hear directly from PCFs
  • Joining the East of England and South West SEND regional leads meeting
  • Attending an NNPCF steering group meeting in June
  • Josh MacAllister, the independent chair of the review, will be meeting with the NNPCF co-chairs

After these and other engagement events, the review plans to publish a “case for change” in early June. Josh MacAllister has agreed to run a webinar for PCFs to brief them on the key areas of focus for the review and how the experiences of CYP with SEND are reflected in their agenda.

The review is also working with our partners at Contact and the Disabled Children’s Partnership to meet with a roundtable of charities and individual parents to hear their stories.

We will keep you informed of our work and will share details of the webinar with Josh once they have been finalised.


National Strategy for Disabled People Consultation

The Disability Unit at Cabinet Office is developing a National Stratgey for Disabled People, which publication planned for Spring 2021. The Disability Unit has launched the UK Disability Survey (link below) and we want to hear from as many people as possible. We are particularly keen to hear from disabled people, their carers, friends and family but views from the wider public are also very welcome. The survey will remain open until 23rd April, and all views will be used to shape the delivery of the plans we set out in the Strategy with those that we receive by 13th February informing its development.

We’ve tried to make sure the survey which is hosted on Citizen Space is as accessible as possible. It is available in Easy Read, BSL and written responses can be sent to: A braille version is available on request and blind or partially sighted people who are having difficulty filling in the online survey can email RNIB for advice or support at:

consultations DfE guidance

NNPCF conference gives SEND Review seven clear messages

Parent carer forum delegates from across the country gave the SEND review team a great demonstration of the knowledge, passion and determination of parent carer forums at the annual NNPCF / Contact Conference on the 7th November in Chester.

196 delegates from 88 local areas engaged in an exercise to explore solutions to the issues facing the SEND system. They produced hundreds of recommendations, examples and challenges for the review team to consider.

The key messages grouped into seven themes, based on feedback that the NNPCF heard from member forums. These were:

  • Listen to families and intervene early
  • Make sure there is enough money and spend it well
  • Align incentives for school and system leaders
  • Increased accountability
  • Right people, right knowledge, right skills
  • Lifelong outcomes
  • Coproduction

You can find a copy of the report from our conference here;

This session built upon the work that the NNPCF steering group had already done in engaging with the SEND review at several meetings prior to the event including a session at which the SEND review team attended an NNPCF steering group meeting. You can find an update on our earlier work here

The NNPCF are planning further regional events with the review team. We will keep you posted on these.