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Manchester's SEND Local Offer Newsletter: April 2015

Welcome to Manchester’s second Local Offer Newsletter.

During the Spring Term, we have been looking at ways of getting more parents involved and this work will continue to be a priority over the next six months. 

Working Together in Manchester

 Manchester is committed to working together with parents.  Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Manchester holds a register of parents and carers who wish to share their skills and knowledge or to take part in consultations, drop-ins or simply get their voice heard.   On 17 March 2015, parents on the Register were invited to a get together at the Friends Meeting House so that they could tell us how they would like us to engage and consult with them.  Over 20 parents attended the event where Maureen Howell, the Strategic Lead for Targeted Services and Maria Simpkin, the Local Offer Co-ordinator led the discussions and gave details of current opportunities for parents to get involved.   These include:

  • Joining a Task and Finish Group to produce a parent friendly version of the “Matching Provision to Need Tool”
  • Getting customer feedback about IAS Manchester as part of the service evaluation
  • Redesigning a Mystery Shopping programme
  • Being a parent representative on the Transition to Adulthood Board
  • Becoming a Local Offer Champion to promote and demonstrate the Local Offer to other parents

Parents told us that they would like termly themed meetings to focus on issues and the first meeting is being planned for the summer term around Short Break services.  If you are interested in attending or getting involved in other ways, please complete the Registration Form which you can access from the link at the bottom of this page. 

If you are thinking about getting involved but want to find out more, you can ring Maria on 0161 245 7302 or drop her an email m.simpkin@manchester.gov.uk. 

 Improving  Manchester’s Local Offer

In our last Newsletter, we asked for feedback from parents, carers and young people about Manchester’s Local Offer and suggestions on how this can be improved.  

A parent emailed us to tell us that she had looked on the Local Offer to find out who to contact about progress of her request for an Education, Health and Care Plan.  Her comments were:

“From the Local Offer I found a page for the Family Service Directory but the contact number given on this page put me through to social services! They put me through to the Education Dept. but there was a call queue and listening to the automated messages, this didn't seem to be the appropriate number to call either, so I hung up. I then searched within the EHC Plans section of the site but there were pages of different numbers, mostly aimed at information provision, so I really have no idea who to call, if it is even possible”.

As a direct result of this feedback, we have added an advice section “SEND Local Offer: Who to Contact in Manchester” to make it easier for families to find this information.

Manchester’s Local Offer currently sits on the Family Services Directory www.manchester.gov.uk/sendlocaloffer.   The Directory is due to be upgraded in the Summer Term and will be rebranded as  “Help & Support Manchester”. This will bring together information on children’s and adult’s services all in one place which will strengthen information on the Local Offer, which supports young people up to the age of 25 years.  We will keep you updated on progress in future Newsletters.

The Local Offer Review Board

The Local Offer Review Board met on 18 March 2015 and was again chaired by Ann Thornber, the Strategic Lead for SEN. We were delighted to welcome Lindsey Brennan as Parent Representative from the M9 ADHD group. Jacqui Hyde from Talbot House has expressed an interest in being involved in the Local Offer Review Board and she will be invited to the next meeting on 10 June 2015.

If you would like to represent your Parent Group on the Local Offer Review Board, please contact Maria Simpkin on 0161 245 7302  or email  parents@manchester.gov.uk.  We have developed a role profile to outline what this would involve.  Click here to find out more.

Manchester’s Register of Disabled Children

The Register is a database of children and young people up to the age of 19 years with disabilities or special educational needs. The Register aims to improve access and take up of services, and identify gaps in provision. The information you provide is important as it will be used to assist in the planning, monitoring and development of services for disabled children and their families in Manchester.

We are currently refreshing the information we hold and would like to encourage parents to add their child’s details onto the Register if they have not already done so.  Click here to find out more.

And Finally…….

If you have any comments about the Local Offer, please let us know by completing the feedback form on the Local Offer, emailing parents@manchester.gov.uk or ringing IAS Manchester on 0161 209 8356.