Council apologises for SEND failures

By William Eichler | 21 September 2021

Suffolk CC has apologised to families who rely on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision after a report found the council was 'not performing well'.

A council-commissioned independent report suggested Suffolk should work with a third-party organisation to deliver improvements.

The council has since secured consultancy Impower as a strategic partner.

Other recommendations included staff training, reviewing the process for allocating specialist placements, working with education leaders and parents and carers to understand the demand for specialist provision, and using data and local intelligence to inform planning.

The council has drafted an action plan to address each of the recommendations.

Executive director of people’s services at Suffolk, Sue Cook, said: ‘The review has found that we must change what we are doing in a number of areas.

‘I would like to say sorry to any child or young person, and their families, who we may have failed.

‘Our priority now is to implement these recommendations with pace, efficiency and impact.

'We have begun to make these changes, but it will take time before the impact of the changes is felt.'

Cabinet member for SEND, Rachel Hood, added: ‘Suffolk CC’s cabinet commissioned this review after the May elections because of concerns that our SEND services were not performing well.

‘As we anticipated, the report has shown that SEND services in Suffolk are not good enough, and I want to apologise to those children and young people we have let down.

‘I want to be clear that this report does not cover all SEND services and many children or young people who have specialist educational needs in Suffolk are very well served, but significant changes must be made following this hard-hitting report.

‘We must learn from this report and implement fundamental change as quickly as we can.’

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