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SEND Reforms & Local Offer, Education Health & Care Plans (EHCP) & Personal Budgets

What is the Local Offer?

By law, we have to publish information about local services for children and young people from birth to 25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). We also publish information about services outside our area which children and young people may use. This is known as the ‘Local Offer’.

In Reading, SEND and the Local Offer is delivered by Brighter Futures for Children, a not-for-profit company, wholly owned by Reading Borough Council, but which operates independently of the Council.

All of the Local Offer information is stored centrally, on this, the Reading Services Guide, which is managed by the Family Information Service on behalf of Brighter Futures for Children.

The Local Offer will put all the information about education, health and care services, voluntary agencies, leisure activities and support groups in one place.

It has two main purposes:

  • To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available
  • To make provision more responsive to local needs

The Government says that the Local Offer must be developed and reviewed in partnership with children and young people, parents / carers and local services, including early years settings, schools, colleges, health and social care agencies.

Reading has worked in partnership with Reading Families Forum and other Local Authorities in the Berkshire area to deliver a Local Offer which will be consistent as far as possible and which will allow for information sharing across Local Authority boundaries where this is appropriate.

The Children and Families Act (2014) introduces many changes to the special educational needs (SEN) system:

  • a new single plan to replace the statement of special educational needs that will include Education, Health and Social Care
  • school action and school action plus to be replaced by a new school based category, 'Additional SEN support'
  • a local offer for parents
  • a new SEN Code of Practice
  • personal budgets for those with a single plan
  • mediation for parents going to Tribunal
  • Individual Action Plans to cease

 Education Health & Care Plans (EHCP)

The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges.  A small number of children and young people may require an Education Health & Care needs assessment in order for the local authority to decide whether it is necessary for it to make provision in accordance with an Education Health & Care Plan (previously known as statements).

The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health & social care and, as they get older prepare them for adulthood. 

The following people have a specific right to ask a local authority to conduct an education, health & care needs assessment for a child or young person aged 0-25:

  • A person acting on behalf of a school or post 16 institution (this should ideally be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible)
  • The child’s parent
  • A young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25

If you would like more information on education health & care plans, then please discuss with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator at your child’s school 

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Team 0118 9372674   

I am unhappy with my child's Education, Health and Care plan. Who can I talk to?

If you are unhappy with your child's Education, Health and Care Plan you can contact Reading IASS. They can advise you about the Independent Dispute and Resolution Service.

Reading IAAS (formerly Parent Partnership Service) - Contact information

T: 0118 937 3421 E:   W: Reading IASS

Personal Budgets

A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan.  It is Brighter Futures for Children's (BFfC) commitment to ensure that parents or the young person is involved in securing that provision.

The child’s parent or the young person has the right to request that the BFfC identifies a personal budget, when BFfC has completed an EHC needs assessment and confirmed that it will prepare an EHC plan.  The child’s parents or the young person may also request a personal budget during a statutory review of an existing EHC plan.

Personal Budgets should reflect the holistic nature of an EHC plan and can include funding for special education, health and social care provision.  They should be focussed to secure the provision agreed in the EHC plan and should be designed to secure the outcomes specified in the EHC Plan.

There are four ways in which we anticipate provision can be secured:

  1. Direct Payments
  2. An Arrangement – e.g. LA or school etc. holds the funds and commissions the support
  3. Third Party arrangements
  4. A combination of the above

More information will be available about personal budgets on the Reading Services Guide as part of the local offer and will include a policy on personal budgets setting out a description of the services across education, health and social care that currently lend themselves to the use of personal budgets, how that funding will be made available and clear simple statements of eligibility criteria and the decision making processes.

Reviewed September 2019