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You said, We did

Your views as children and young people with SEND, and as carers are important. 

We want this website to be relevant to you.  Parents/carers, young people and staff worked together to design this website, and to interview for staff for Hackney's Local Offer.

If you would like to join us to continue to develop Hackney's Local Offer website then do contact us.

We want to make sure that your views are heard about the Hackney services you use.

You can register on this site, and give feedback about what you think of the services. 

We gather your feedback from this site, and from going out to meet groups of children, young people and parents and carers.  Then we pass it on to relevant service managers. 

We publish responses to your comments here at least once a year. 

See what we have done in response to previous feedback from you below.

You said we did comments and responses 2016 - 2017

Providing information on all the various aspects of SEND for those aged 0-25 across education, health, social care and the third sector is a huge undertaking.

The Local Offer website is a mechanism to share information from and about services.

Where information has not been provided we are not able to share it. We are proactive in seeking information but remind those working in SEND that it is a statutory duty to share their information via the Local Offer website.

“Local authorities must publish a summary of comments at least annually, although this is expected to be an ongoing process. They must ensure that comments are published in a form that does not enable any individual to be identified.” Code of Practice 4.24

We value the discussions with and feedback from those that use the website.

Below are some of the comments and response we have taken during 2016 – 2017.

Feedback is from various sources, face to face discussions, surveys, consultations,

e-mails and more.

Our Summer survey was responded to online by 11 people 6 of whom identified as parents. It was launched during a service review of the inclusion and specialist support team and some of the comments reflect parents/carers feelings and concerns about cuts and early years and SEND services.

Where there are similar themes to comments these could be attributed to the same responder.

Further responses to the survey were provided via hard copies.

 

You said

We did

 

“It is very comprehensive. I do think the architecture of the site makes it harder to ensure it is really accessible and easy to use. The structure doesn't lend itself to easy promotion via social media.

I think the LO should be able to tweet links to content too.

This would make it really easy to promote.”

 

 

There are existing functions that allow information to be shared via social media on each service directory entry and help and advice article of the website.

The Facebook function allows you to save and share information later. There is a balance to be struck with the available resources and time allocated to various aspects of providing information. Currently there are no plans to have a separate twitter or Facebook account. We are looking at the success that partner organisations are having with promoting services through social media as well as neighbouring boroughs with comparative resources. We will keep you informed of any developments.

 

We are adding accessible information where we can. Some SEND services have made team wikis and short videos and easy read guides are added when the services provide them. If we become aware of any helpful, relevant, accessible information we add it to the website but services working in SEND are responsible for providing their own guides.

 

 

You said…

We did…

“It reads like a directory of services, most of which are not relevant or not available when you try to access them.”

 

There are three components to the Hackney Local Offer website. One of which is a service directory which shows alphabetically and can be filtered by age buttons and service buttons.

The service directory has over 1200 entries and provides information on Ofsted registered childcare and education settings and SEND services.

The SEND services state the eligibility criteria and have contact information so that you can speak to the right person for your query.

 

There are two further aspects to the site, help and advice articles and resource pages.

 

There are over 100 short help and advice articles that describe processes and link to the service directory, national information, guidance factsheets and any easy read information e.g. videos that we are aware of and think may help users of the site understand the topic.

 

The resource pages are homes for useful documents and links for parents, professionals and young people. Parents/cares can view the same information as professionals and this makes the processes more transparent. 

 

 

You said…

We did…

“It just doesn't seem very good. It's not got much content. We've tried for 18 months to access proper short breaks for our son but because he is under 5 it's not worked.”

 

Hackney’s Local Offer website content includes 1224 service entries relevant to a range of ages.

It also includes 100 help and advice articles available from the top bar of each page.

Hackney’s Local Offer website is not the Short Breaks service.

All service entries include information about what to do if you wish to complain and there are comprehensive articles that provided further information about the boroughs complaints process for various sectors.

The Short Breaks offer for children under 5 is described in the article about the service.

Find out more: Short Breaks

 

We are aware that some consultation and development took place during the year for this service. The Short Breaks under 5 offer can be found in the documents section of the Short Breaks help and advice article.

Short Breaks have a stand-alone website that we link to with comprehensive information about opportunities on offer from the service: www.shortbreaks.co.uk

 

You can also contact Hackney Family Information Service to find out about funding and free childcare for 2 year olds and 3 – 4 year olds. This can be used to secure early years provision which in turn can act as respite. Families of children with SEND may qualify automatically for some funding.  

 

This comment has been passed on to the head of the Short Breaks service.

 

You said…

We did…

 

“I just don't have time or energy to navigate a site on which I've never found any info that's relevant to my family.”

 

 

We are sorry that you feel this way. If you need assistance navigating the site professionals working in SEND can and should be able to assist you. You can also attend a face to face session on the last Tuesday of every month at The Resource Centre at Hackney Ark where the website coordinator can help you use the site to find useful and relevant information on a range of SEND related topics.

 

Useful tip: the top bar on every page will take you to the “What’s on” article and the full list of “help and advice” articles.

 

You can also contact us via the top bar and we will do our best to direct you to the information you are looking for on the website.

 

You said…

We did…

 

“I am using it more these days but putting on Twitter would be ideal for me I can read, retweet etc but the link needs to directly to the item being promoted rather than just the page it is on. So the structure of the site needs developing to enable this to happen. This will help reach younger parent/carers though this won't address those who are not IT confident so it needs to be a two pronged approach - lots parents maybe be happy to received links via FB, messenger, Instagram and What's App (the latter is very widely used by many who would not regard themselves to be IT savvy...it would 'liberate' the very good content”

 

 

There are currently no plans to have a twitter account specifically for the website. Because of the current national and local climate with regard to education, health and social care services and provisions, there are sweeping and challenging changes taking place in all sectors. Some changes to information and documents occur as a result of coproduction processes and services trying to ensure they have responded appropriately to feedback. In order to be able to manage the amount of content and changes to content from all sectors across the whole site we link to the page where content is housed rather that documents directly. We understand that this requires an additional step when searching but currently feel it is still the best way of ensuring you find the latest version of the information. It may also help flag up helpful information you were not specifically searching for. We are always looking at ways to maximise providing information helpfully within our means and will continue to share ideas about this with our peers.

 

You said…

We did…

 “As a nursery school we recognise the high number of children with a wide range of communication needs including those with autistic features. We believe it would be highly effective for the Borough to have a specialist resource for children with such needs from 2-5 years of age serviced by a multi- disciplinary team of professionals including a specialist teach and SALT. This multi- disciplinary model focussing on early intervention would provide an evidenced based model to enhance children's outcomes and thereby reduce the need for out of borough support.”

 

The Department for Education has released capital funding to help local authorities develop their inclusion and SEND offer in education settings. Hackney Learning trust has consulted with parents and have noted their feedback. Information about the next stages of this project is added to the “Consultations and engagement opportunities” help and advice article on this website.

 

Find out more: www.hackneylocaloffer/sendconsultations

Find out about existing provision in borough: Types of school places for children with SEND

 

You said…

We did…

 

 “There seem to be no services available any more for pre-school children.”

 

 

We do provide information on many services for those aged 0-4.

These can be accessed via the age link button on the front page of the website.

Additional service buttons then appear guiding you through different options.

 

You said…

We did…

 

 “Some policy stuff has been missing from time to time but usually put up once requested.”

 

 

There have been many changes taking place within all sectors and many services. Where policies are available or have been finalised and are relevant to SEND we endeavour to include them in a timely manor.

There are times when responding to feedback from parents or carers requires additional time being spent on policies.

 

We will always listen to and try to respond helpfully to queries and seek to work with our strategic partners including parents/carers to provide information that is helpful and meaningful for those aged 0-25 with SEND.

 

 

 

Examples of feedback and actions via e-mail. There have been many exchanges and responses via e-mail.

 

We have not included all them as we see these part of our ongoing dialogue and daily practice.

 

You said…

We did…

 

“It’s better to have images associated with updates to entice parents to view the information”

 

 

When we send updates to the parent carer forum and Resource Centre newsletter we include a colourful image of Hackney’s Local Offer website on a computer.

 

You said…

We did…

 

“I found it hard to find the SEND travel application form on the page with the Transport article. Also please could you add higher up in the text of the article how to apply”

 

 

We rearranged to documents in the download section of this page (there were 3) so that the application form was on top above the guidance.

We have added text higher up in the article directing parents/carers to the form.

 

 

 

Paper copy responses of Local Offer website survey returned after parent/carer information session hosted by City and Hackney’s Children’s Disability Forum.

 

You said…

We did…

 

“I am not confident in using websites. All the reading is difficult to understand”

 

 

To help increase parent/carer confidence in using the website we attend a wide range of training sessions to introduce them to the website, explain about it’s functions, encourage them to use it by highlighting all the useful information that it provides.

 

Hackney Libraries run sessions for adults who wish to increase their ability to use the internet.

 

We encourage those working in SEND to help empower parents/carers to find helpful information on the website and attend and offer to attend team meetings to inform and train staff so that they can confidently pass on what they have learnt. Included in all of the training is information on how to make and print a shortlist / bespoke directory of information as we know some people find paper copies easier to read.

There will always be people who need face to face advocacy and support from the various IAS services and we will signpost to these as appropriate.

 

We are working on reducing the text in articles but are also trying to retain different levels of information for different parents/carers with different requirements. As you can see from previous comments some parent/carers like very comprehensive information.

 

Where services provide shortened guides for parents we try to highlight these under the first paragraph of articles. 

 

We use a frequently asked questions format more often throughout the site with drop down bars so that you only need view the information related to your specific query.

 

Our face to face sessions on the last Tuesday of every month at Hackney Ark Resource centre are a perfect opportunity to come and find out more with support.

 

 

You said…

We did…

 

“My reading in English and Bengali is not very good. But today I was given some information and I will go and look it up,”

 

 

We spoke with this parent to see how to help. Specific information and contact details of services were exchanged.

 

 

Feedback from school information session run by the ASD Intervention Worker and Educational Psychology.

 

You said…

We did…

“When you are told your child has an autism diagnosis you then get sent away with no more information.”

 

This year we added a condition specific article on autism. It links to service information, explains a little about the condition and links to good trusted sources of further information. After attending the session where we heard this feedback we had a shortened URL made: www.hackneylocaloffer/autism

 

The aim is that this is easy for professionals to remember and links directly to the Local Offer website article. We sent the link and the feedback to strategic partners who would be in a position to share this with parents/carers nearer the time of diagnosis and asked them to pass it on.

 

 

E-mail request…

 

You said…

We did…

ABA/VB autism specific therapy interventions on Local Offer...It is important our parents know that home funded programmes are an option and could be an alternative or solution to lack of good provision in schools.

Regarding providing information about Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behaviour (VB) therapies. This topic has been discussed at the SEND mangers meeting. Actions agreed are below.

 

This text below will be added to an article about specialist interventions and approaches.

 

ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) Holding Statement

 

ABA is a technique or intervention that has been developed from a branch of science called behaviour analysis.

 

Different interventions and support have been developed to help autistic people manage their condition and help them reach their full potential.

There is often not a clear agreement or a shared understanding about the effectiveness of some therapies and it can be difficult to make decisions about which approach is right for each person.

 

We believe that young people and parents / carers should have access to a range of information and choice about evidence based interventions and support for themselves or their children.

 

Find out more about therapies and interventions including ABA: http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/media-centre/position-statements/interventions.aspx

 

We will also add an Independent ABA provider to our service directory but in doing this we are not sanctioning it as a local authority partner. We agree a menu of services that include home funded options may be helpful to some parents.

 

 

General feedback from various sources…

 

You said…

We did…

I had seen information about EHC plans before but then I couldn’t find it when I looked again.

In response to similar conversation we have condensed information about the EHC assessment and planning process so that it can be found in one place.

 

We looked at our data to see how people are searching for information. We add search terms to make finding information easier.

 

 

You said…

We did…

“Sometimes I can’t process all of the information. There is always so much to do when you have a child with SEND.”

We have been adding more videos, links to wikis and more easy read guides. There can be a lot of tasks for parents/carers particularly at times of transition. We have included information about services that can help and if you search “form filling” or “advocacy” local services that can assist you will appear in the service directory.

You can also filter your search using the family support option in the browse services search function.

Here are the filtered search results: Family Support

Hackney SENDIAGS out information advice and guidance service run regular information sessions where parents/carers can come and get face to face information. They also run drop in sessions where they can provide 1:1 support. 

Hackney SENDIAGS (SEND Information, Advice and Guidance Service)

 

You said…

We did…

 

“I want to know what services there are for my young person now they are not in education or training.”

 

We have been proactively seeking and adding service for those aged over 19 years old. We are very aware of the national picture and will continue to add helpful information as and when we find it. 

 

You said…

We did…

“I find the website a really useful place to access important documents.”

More information for SENCos and other professionals has been added to their resource page. Individual services often have important documents attached to their service entries to ensure these are owned by them and kept current. We flag up these entries on the resources page.

 

Find out more: Resources page for SENCOs, SEND professionals and others

 

 

You said we did comments and responses 2015 - 2016

You said: "We need more information on the Education Health and Care Plan process"

We did:  We have broken this information down into steps and linked the pages to each other. We have included the documents and guides to this process in the articles on EHC plans. 

You said: "We need more information on what to do if a child with SEN(D) is excluded from school"

We did: We have linked together existing information so that more services come up when you use the word "exclusion" in a search. We have added local and national services that can help support parents and young people and promoted these at an event with the parents forum HiP. We printed hard copies of this information for parents attending this event. We added more information after the event based on what we heard. 

2017 update: Works has continued on reducing exclusions and relevant documents are added to the school exclusions article.

You said: "We need to be able to translate the information into our language so it's easier for us to understand and use"

We did: We looked at options for the best translation tool. This has now been added to the website functions. Please let us know how it is working for you.

We have carried out further investigations into this. This function works for some information and languages but not others. We have investigated alternatives and will be closely watching what our peers are doing.  

We provide information from the Local Offer website at face to face sessions.

You said: "What about families who do not use the internet?"

We did: We would encourage all families to get support with this if the only barrier is being unfamiliar with the technology. We have run one to one support sessions at The Ark's resource centre and have demonstrated how useful and easy it is to source information using the Local Offer website to the centre's staff so that they are able to assist families with this.

We supported parents to search for services they were interested in, showed them how to make a shortlist with the shortlist function and printed hard copies of their searches for them.

We enjoyed this session and are going to run regular sessions for parents and young people where we search the local offer with or for them. Dates will be on our "Difficulty using the internet" page and "What's On" page and promoted in print and at events. 

We intend to attend events on SEND with Local Offer information relevant to the topic of the event printed in hard copy as a resource for parents and young people attending. 

2017 update: We continue to promote and flag up relevant information with partners that support families in all relevant sectors. Our data shows many more people are accessing information from the website and we receive more inquires. We have also attended parents information sessions and parents evenings at schools with additional resourced provision. 

 

 

You said we did comments and responses 2014 - 2015...

You said: We want a colourful, fun Local Offer website that isn’t corporate

We did: We designed the Local Offer website with young people and parent input to be engaging and not corporate.

You said: We want a standalone website so we can find the SEND information more easily. 

We did: We have designed this website with parents/carers and young people. Our Orange Local Offer flash function tells you that a service is SEND specific and run by the council or NHS

You said: we'd like maps and transport links on the Local Offer website

We did: We put them on every service entry. Since we did this the service that provided maps to ours and many other boroughs Local Offers websites has changed their agreement. The company who host our website are looking into alternatives. 

We have re-designed out pages slightly until this is resolved. 

You said: "We want our local offer to make it easy to find things"

We did: We have useful and easy to use functions like the shortlist function where you can save just contact details or more comprehensive information on the services you searched for.

We have written articles that link to service entries and follow on information to help you navigate around the site e.g. What is autism? This article links to all the local services that support familes before and after diagnosis. 

Service entries on our Local Offer are increasingly becoming the best source of information for parents, young people and other professionals.

We are contributing to electronic guides that are being developed.

Accessing information like this will help families become more familiar with and navigate around our Local Offer website more easily.  

How we intend to continue this process...

Our monthly regular Face to Face sessions run from Hackney Arks Resource Centre are run in partnerships with other SEND services including:

  • Hackney Arks Resource Centre Coordinator
  • Hackney's Short breaks Service
  • Hackney SENDIAGS 
  • Prospects careers service SEND advisor

These sessions and out continuing outreach help ensure we are providing helpful information in a range of ways. 

In order to help families we will attend SEND events with relevant information printed out in hard copies where appropriate so that those families that do not have access to the internet still get this information. We hope that eventually sharing information in this way will become common practice for those running SEND events.  

We have met with representatives of the Turkish and Orthodox Jewish communities to see how we can make sure that information is available to parents and young people that they are in contact with.

We will continue to run sessions where we show key representatives and agencies from these communities how to find information using the website and continue to develop other useful strategies to support this.

This is work that will continue. 

Further useful information...

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