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Improving the Local Offer: Our Response to your Feedback

Your Feedback

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”.

Our Response

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.

You said:

"What are you going to do to make sure families without internet access are still able to use the Local Offer"?

We Did:

Our Engagement Officers have been strengthening links across the city with community groups, schools and libraries etc to identify Local Offer Champions who can demonstrate the Local Offer and its benefits. The Local Offer Champions will be invited to the Local Offer focus group to feedback and progress the development of the Local Offer. The Engagement officers also attend the Local Offer Drop Ins which run across the city; families can get one to one support in terms of accessing and navigating the Local Offer.

Professionals across the city council have been offered Local Offer demos and training. By building capacity with front line workers, they will be well placed to support and empower parents to source the information they need

You Said:

"What about families who do not have the ‘know how’ to use a computer"?

We Did:

We have commissioned a training course which is being rolled out to give parents the skills to use the Local Offer but more importantly, to create Local Offer champions based in their local communities. As well skilling up their local communities, Local Offer champions will be invited to The Local Offer Focus Group which meets quarterly to update and feed into the ongoing development of the Local Offer.

You Said:

"The short breaks section of the Local Offer is too wordy and confusing"

We Did:

Worked with a group of parents to improve the wording of these pages. Also updated entry and landing pages The redesigned pages are now in a simple and easy to follow format with fewer ‘clicks’ as requested. Have a look!

You Said:

The cross referencing system is not sophisticated enough.

We Did:

A recent upgrade to the software has resolved this problem, search function is now much easier to use and brings better results.

You Said:

"We need bigger icons "

We Did:

You can reset the icons to the required size on the top of the screen using the accessibility options. We have made this clearer on the landing page.

You Said:

"Not user friendly"

We Did:

The upgrade has made the directory more user friendly. The team continue to work on the development and get user feedback.

You said: "Need parent reps in schools to promote the Local Offer".

We Did:

Our engagement officers are making links across the city with schools and the Parent Reps are being invited to the quarterly parent’s events. We have also targeted the Local Offer Champion training at main stream schools by linking into their parent support officers. The Local Offer will be discussed at the Vulnerable Children’s Network Meeting which runs across the city and all schools are invited. Schools will be given details of the Engagement Officers who will be available to demonstrate the Local Offer in their school.

You Said:

"Leisure centres could make some minor changes which would make a big difference to families with children with disabilities".

We did:

We are currently working with leisure to develop guidance for universal services to ensure they are accessible. Areas we are specifically exploring are keeping the music low, opening earlier for children with disabilities, having a wrist band so that families don’t have to queue.

You said:

"Change the name of the disability section, to have Local Offer on the front"

We Did:

This is being processed.

You said:

"Add all of the schools to the local offer".

We did:

We have added another category to reflect this change.

You Said

 "I only found out about Information, Advice and Support service when I went to appeal so feel that the service should be better advertised in schools and Child & Mental Health assessment centres so parents know about it"

We Did:

 The service does have regular contact with the North, Central and South CAMHS and are invited regularly to the newly diagnosed clinics. The team will work to strengthen the links and ensure that the local offer postcards are available.

If you have any feedback or suggestions on how to improve the Local Offer, please email parents@manchester.gov.uk