Agenda item

Inquiry Session - Provision of EHCP Support in Leeds

To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families and the Head of Democratic Services setting out the latest stage of the Board’s inquiry into the provision of EHCP support in Leeds. This item highlights further feedback from parents, carers, children and young people on EHCP services in the city.



The Board considered a report from the Head of Democratic Services and the Director of Children and Families as part of the Board’s Inquiry into the Provision of EHCP Support in Leeds. This provided a summary of an ongoing survey of parents, carers, children and young people accessing EHCP and SEND support in the city and other contextual information.


In attendance for this item were:


·  Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Economy, Culture, and Education

·  Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships

·  Julie Longworth, Director of Children & Families

·  Dan Barton, Deputy Director – Learning

·  Phil Evans, Chief Officer Transformation and Partnerships

·  Sandra Pentelow, Projects and Programme Manager

·  Leanne Knight, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

·  Rob Clayton, Principal Scrutiny Adviser


The Principal Scrutiny Adviser introduced the report highlighting the scrutiny context to the report and that the report adds further depth to stakeholder feedback received at previous sessions of the inquiry and through working groups. The report specifically provided feedback from the survey and was not intended to provide an overview of the wider improvement work being undertaken by the directorate.


The Chair of the Board noted that previous feedback from the Board on the survey had led to the survey being sent out directly to stakeholders after concerns on coverage of the survey were raised.


The Deputy Director – Learning emphasised the importance of engagement with stakeholders and referenced the themes that are arising and that many of them were already known to the service and had been identified as areas to be addressed as part of the improvement work. Engagement has taken place with a wide range of stakeholders in addition to this survey including the Third Sector, advocacy organisations, parents, carers, children and young people, head teachers and SENCOs.


Responding to comments and questions the following discussion points were raised:


·  The Board wanted to place on the record the impact that EHCP delays can have on foster placement stability in terms of impacts on the young people and on the foster carers. It was noted that there is an impact on all of those waiting for an EHCP but potentially disproportionately so on children looked after. This was acknowledged as an important point and to be factored into the work on speeding up EHCP placement decisions.

·  Members noted that the report highlights that parents and carers see EHCPs as the only solution they have to accessing funding and support for their children when in fact that is not the case. The Board suggested that improving communication and signposting on this was an important piece of work in improving the service, EHCPs are not in and of themselves the only thing that can be done to access support. This was acknowledged and that improved signposting is needed to other available services . In addition, enhanced training to colleagues in schools and education settings could also be considered as part of the answer to that issue.

·  The Director of Children and Families emphasised the commitment within the directorate and partnership to early intervention and prevention at the earliest opportunity. An important element of this is working in partnership across the city to deliver support at the earliest opportunity to children with additional needs. Workforce development to identify additional needs as early as possible and developing the skills and knowledge to both identify and respond to them is also a priority. Mainstreaming the offer to SEND children through areas such as Family Help is also a potential opportunity through this work.




The Board:


a)  noted and commented on the content of the report and appendices and noted that evidence taken from the summary provided at Appendix 1 will be used to inform the final Inquiry Report.

b)  noted the adjustment to the inquiry timeline and additional meeting planned for 18 April and the intention to provide a final inquiry report at that meeting.


Supporting documents: