The Children and Families Act Part 3 – working together to make it happen

The new Leeds Local Offer website launches on 1 September 2014. You can use the website to find out what services and support you can expect to access locally. You can also use it to share your views of services in Leeds and how they should develop…

One of the key messages in the Children and Families Act 2014 is that education, health and social care agencies providing services for children and young people with SEN and disabilities need to work more closely with those children and young people, and their families.

The Act is clear that services need to work in close partnership with families in two ways:
•They must make sure that children and young people and their families are fully involved in making any decisions and plans about their own care and their own lives.
• They must also make sure that they fully involve children and young people and families when they review and develop services or make changes that will affect those children and young people and their families.

The Act is very clear that consulting with families about plans or decisions that have already been made, is not good enough. Instead, Councils and health services need to take an approach of ‘co-production’ – including families in making decisions and producing plans or reviews, right from the start and working together to make changes happen.

The Act specifically says that the new Local Offer, Education, Health and Care Plans and personal budgets (see previous blog entries) must be ‘co-produced’, with families and children and young people closely involved in making decisions about how they will work.

In Leeds children’s services, we really welcome this approach as it sits very well with our existing way of working, ‘restorative practice’. Restorative practice is all about listening to people who use our services and working with them. It is based on evidence that suggests that outcomes are better for everyone when services work with people, instead of just doing things to them or for them. The people involved feel more valued and the services involved can avoid getting things wrong because of making incorrect assumptions about what people might want and need. Things work better when you do them together.

So how have we made this happen in our work so far to develop the Education Health and Care Plans, personal budgets and the Leeds Local Offer? See our next entry for more!

If you want to get involved in developing and reviewing services locally, please email bpteam@leeds.gov.uk to be added to our mailing list and receive updates on all opportunities to get involved, including focus groups, workshops, regular meetings, and email surveys.

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