Between the 24 and 27 May 2021, Birmingham Local Area is hosting OfSTED and CQC inspectors to review the progress that has been made against the Written Statement of Action (WSOA) since its publication in January 2019. The WSOA is a document which sets out the improvements that OfSTED and the CQC require the Council and the NHS to make in the provision of SEND services following their last visit.
Many children and young people who have additional needs require support from a range of services, including health. The SEND Code of Practice sets out the statutory duties for health, education and social care to listen to families and provide the right range of services so that children, young people and young adults up to the age of 25yrs can achieve their potential.
BSol CCG works in close partnership with the local authorities in Birmingham and Solihull to ensure that health commissioning is effective in meeting the health needs of children and young people with SEND. This involves many aspects of cross-agency and cross-system working with partners and families, including support for medical needs in schools, access to therapies and transition to adulthood pathways.
Commissioning leads and clinicians from across the CCG are involved in many programmes of work that impact on the experiences of children and young people with SEND. The CCG is a core member in SEND improvement workstreams and programmes in both areas.
Examples of the ongoing work to improve local SEND provision and processes across Birmingham and Solihull, include:
- Improved multi-agency working across the SEND system at locality to support better access to services for families
- Processes established so that health providers can submit essential health advice to the LA for statutory assessments for education, health and care plans
- Ensuring that CCG commissioning is appropriate and suitable to meet the needs of, and improve outcomes for, children and young people with SEND
- Establishing joint commissioning across the area where appropriate with a focus on developing integrated approaches to service delivery to improve efficiency and support better experiences for children and young people and their families
- Acting on parent / carer feedback and embedding co-production as part of all service improvements
- Supporting awareness of SEND responsibilities across the health system
A team of Designated Clinical Officers (DCOs) and Designated Medical Officers (DMOs) are part of the CCG, bringing clinical leadership to support the CCG to meet its statutory responsibilities under the SEND Code of Practice. These responsibilities involve maintaining oversight the health contributions to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), working across different parts of the health system to ensure that health assessments, planning and support is delivered in accordance with SEND code of practice and in a family-centred way. The DMO/DCO team quality assure the health inputs in relation to SEND into both the graduated approach as well as within EHCPs as part of Local Authority Quality Assurance systems.
The DMO/DCO team also play a crucial role as point of contact for schools and LA into the health system and between different parts of the health system, with a focus on improving the quality of experience of health support for children, young people who have SEND support needs. This involves links across the health system including GPs (Primary care), health visiting and school nursing services, mental health services and community services as well as the health services delivered from the range of hospitals in the area.
Meet the designate team
Dr. Orlaith Byrne (DMO Birmingham)
Dr. Manjeet Raina (DMO Birmingham)
Ali Beard (DCO Birmingham)
Maria Kidd (DCO Solihull)
In Birmingham, the two Designated Medical Officers (DMOs) are Dr Orlaith Byrne and Dr Manjeet Raina, who share the DMO role alongside their work as Consultant Community Paediatricians in Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust. Ali Beard brings her clinical background in speech and language therapy and works full time in the role of Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) within the CCG.
The Birmingham DMO/DCO team act as a link into the range of health providers in the city: Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Forward Thinking Birmingham, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital as well as local GPs and the acute hospitals.
In Solihull, Maria Kidd works part time as Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) for SEND, Maria brings her experience of commissioning in both health and local authority and has a clinical background in health visiting. Dr Renu Jainer, Consultant Community Paediatrician for University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is the interim DMO.
NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG is a member of the Birmingham Children’s Partnership (BCP) which is committed to stronger collaboration and strategic join-up to improve the experience of families in Birmingham.
The Joint local area SEND inspection in Birmingham which took place in June 2018 found serious areas of weakness across many aspects of SEND support. A Joint local area SEND written statement of action was published (11 January 2019) detailing the actions that the Local Area were committed to achieve in order to improve the experience of families.
The following five key work streams are the focus for the Birmingham Children's Partnership:
- Services for children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
- Children and young people affected by youth violence/contextual safeguarding
- Reducing the number of primary school exclusions
- Reviewing the cost and benefits of high cost placements and out of city residential provision, where possible providing alternative care closer to home
- Ensuring that services for children are focused on making early help work
Birmingham SEND Strategy 2019-2023
Birmingham’s Strategy for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) has been co-produced by a range of stakeholders and sets out the local area’s strategic priorities relating to SEND, building on and complementing the work of the previous strategy.
The strategy identifies 5 key priority themes which were been informed by extensive consultation and co-production with partners, including parents, health, care and educational settings:
- Birmingham’s Local Offer
- Working Together
- Journey of a Child
- Developing services and provision
- Transitions and moving into adulthood
Measures of success for the strategy were outlined as:
- Children and young people with SEND will achieve improved outcomes.
- We will ensure that the local offer is developed further to meet current and future needs of our children and young people and as a result all Birmingham Children and young people with SEND will have timely access to good-quality services.
- Feedback from children, young people and families will show they feel more supported by education, health and social care services.
- We will have developed clear transitions and improved progression pathways through the curriculum to support better preparation for adulthood for children and young people with SEND.
- We will have improved the quality and timeliness of the statutory assessment process, co-production of EHC plans and established a new funding model for all children and young people with SEND
Local Offer website
The support available from education, health and social care within a Local Authority is known as the Local Offer. Each Local Authority is required to publish what is available on the Local Offer website. The Birmingham local offer can be accessed here: https://www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk/
Solihull SEND services were inspected in a joint CQC/Ofsted visit in October 2017. Although the inspection was positive and no written statement of action was required, the main findings and areas for development from the inspection report were used to develop a SEND action plan for Solihull.
The plan supports Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG to work together with providers to ensure it meets the requirements of the Children and Families Act - improving outcomes and experiences for disabled children and young people, and those with SEN.
NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG is a member of the newly formed Solihull Joint Additional Needs and Disabilities Board(JAND), which oversees SEND services in Solihull, and replaces the previous SEND Board. The JAND board has a wide range of attendees, including voluntary sector Parent Carer Forum representatives. The board also oversees implementation of, and accountability for, the SEND action plan, and will work with stakeholders to refresh the plan on a regular basis.
Local Offer website
The support available from education, health and social care within a Local Authority is known as the Local Offer. Each Local Authority is required to publish what is available on the Local Offer website. The Solihull local offer can be accessed here: https://socialsolihull.org.uk/localoffer/health/