Somerset SEND – not good enough

An OFSTED and CQC report into children’s services for special education needs and disabilities was published this morning. The report is highly critical of Somerset’s service.

The report is critical of both Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Somerset County Council. The findings are that both should get together and provide a Written Statement of Action. This is to be submitted to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector. The statement is deemed necessary “because of significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice.”

SCC Lead Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Frances Nicholson and Chair of Somerset CCG, Dr Ed Ford issued a joint statement in response. “we are sorry that some children, young people and families with SEND have not received the effective support and care that they need, and we wish to provide. We fully accept the areas for improvement identified. Positive progress is being made in many of these areas following a self-evaluation exercise that took place and we will continue to build on this.”

You can see the full summary of the report here:

Councillor Leigh Redman, leader of Labour group on Somerset County Council commented upon receipt of the Send CQC Inspection report:- “I have only had limited time to read the report, based on an initial inspection the report was hard reading for me, to read how poorly Somerset are treating young people with special needs and/or disabilities and their families is awful, the report found several areas of weaknesses within Somerset that will need urgent addressing.

To read how the report highlighted a need to better support children on the Autistic spectrum was a big concern, I believe this has been an on-going issue for some time, the report seems to highlight a real problem with the left hand not talking to the right hand, I hope this is near the top of the action points.

I’m sure Scrutiny members will be seeking answers on how we can put right the deficiencies highlighted in the report and scrutinise the details behind the improvement plan, I hope that the Director of children services is able to work closer with Somerset’s Children and families scrutiny committee, so that, where appropriate, we can support the improvements and help SEND children and their families.”

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