Suffolk County Council and Suffolk’s clinical commissioning groups’ joint statement regarding the Ofsted and CQC Local Area SEND Inspection outcome

Published

Suffolk County Council and Suffolk’s clinical commissioning groups statement.

We fully accept the findings of the report and apologise that the local area’s services and provision have not effectively met the needs of children and young people in our county. Transforming these services is our priority.

Prior to the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspection, we identified that significant improvements needed to be made to the way children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families access support.

We have been working in partnership with the Suffolk Parent Carer Network to introduce a number of changes covering education, health and social care, and we are beginning to see the positive impact of these. The number of Statements to be transferred to Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) has reduced and production of new EHCPs has increased. 

We recognise that it is not just about the speed of production but also improving the quality of the EHCPs produced. We are investing in training across all partners and providers focussing on improving co-production of EHCPs.

Whilst the report recognises the early steps taken to make improvements, it clearly highlights that there is still much more work we need to do and we agree with these findings. Since the inspection, together with the Suffolk Parent Carer Network, we have identified three key areas of focus to bring about the rapid improvements that are needed. We are working together to improve access to information, improve the SEND journey and develop the services and provision available locally. 

The three NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Suffolk (NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and NHS West Suffolk CCG) have recruited Designated Clinical Officers for SEND who are working closely with both the local authority and health providers to improve the Education Health and Care Plan Process.

Waiting times for child and adolescent mental health services are beginning to reduce and children with complex care needs are being well cared for by the community nursing teams.

Suffolk County Council has a good track record of turning poorly performing services around; 89% of our schools are now judged ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’. This rate has been increasing faster than the national average over the last two years and marks a more than 20% increase since the council’s Raising the Bar programme (which aims to improve educational attainment) began.

We all want children and young people in Suffolk to reach their full potential. Working together we have full confidence that we will be able to implement the same turnaround to ensure that children, young people and their families can access the support they need, when they need it.