In September 2021, the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted visited Wirral to inspect services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The inspection team focused on the Local Area, which includes education, health, and social care services. This is know as a Local Area SEND Inspection, and full details of what it involves are contained in the Local Area SEND Inspection Framework https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-area-send-inspection-framework
In December 2021, the Local Area received a letter from the inspection team detailing the outcome and findings. Whilst some strengths were reported, there were many areas for improvement identified by the inspection team. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission informed Wirral services that there were 10 areas that they needed to take action to improve. These are:
- weaknesses in the quality and timeliness of EHC assessments and annual reviews
- the lack of meaningful co-production with parents and carers
- the high level of parental dissatisfaction with the area’s provision
- the published local offer not being well publicised and not providing parents and carers with the information that they need
- poor communication with parents and carers across the area
- the fractured relationship between the area and the Parent Carer Partnership Wirral and the impact of this on the area’s progress in implementing the reforms
- the lack of joint commissioning of services in the area
- the lack of effective strategic oversight to ensure effectiveness of plans and provision and hold leaders, managers and partners to account
- the lack of accurate, up-to-date and useful information which informs the area’s plans and evaluates the impact of their actions
- the graduated response not being consistently applied across all schools and settings
Findings in full are contained within the outcome letter.
In response to the inspection findings, the Local Area partnership of education, health, and social care services had to develop and submit a plan to improve. This plan is known as a Written Statement of Action (WSoA). The Local Area completed this task and the WSoA was agreed by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission in March 2022. Wirral’s WSoA is a detailed plan to improve service for children and young people with SEND.
From March 2022 to September 2023 the Local Area services will be working through the WSoA to improve. Support will be provided to Wirral from Advisors and Specialists from the Department of Education. Progress will be monitored by the Department for Education and NHS England on a regular basis through written reports and Monitoring Meetings. Written reports will be published on the Local Offer in the SEND Transformation Board section (add link for page on the SEND Transformation Board).
The Monitoring meetings will take place on 24th April 2022, 13th July 2022, 16th November 2022, 15th March 2023 and 17th July 2023.
It is anticipated that a re-inspection will take place in autumn of 2023.