The Journey So Far
In 2013, Wirral Council along with Community Action Wirral, partners within health and education, parents, carers and children and young people came together to develop Wirral’s Local Offer.
This site is the second version that has been created as all partners are committed to continual improvement and have ensured ongoing and regular engagement to gather views. These views have been listened to and the site developed further as a result.
Right from the beginning it was agreed that particular focus will be given to making the site more user-friendly for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Community Action Wirral were chosen as the key partner due to their experience in creating WirralWell.org, the most comprehensive online service directory in Wirral and the fact that their role as local third sector infrastructure organisation means that they are central to engagement activities and promotion of local support services to members of the public.
A series of co-production sessions took place with parents and carers to help define the look and functionality of the site. Headteachers, SENCOs, Health Practitioners and Voluntary Sector agencies were all part of the process of development and have had regular opportunities to share their thoughts on the site. Further details can be found on the feedback tab.
What is the Local Offer?
The Local Offer provides information on what services children, young people and their families can expect from a range of local agencies, including education, health and social care as well as information about other local, support services. Knowing what is out there gives you more choice and therefore more control over what support is right for your child.
The Local Offer will set out what is available for your child in your area if they have special educational needs and or a disability.
The Local Offer will:
- Give you information about education and training, health and care services
- Give you information about leisure activities and support groups
- Hold all the information in one place
- Be clear, comprehensive and accessible
- Make service provision more responsive to local needs
- Be developed and reviewed with service providers and service users.
How will the Local Offer help me?
The Local Offer will:
- Make it easier to find out what you need to know
- Help you to find information when you need it and to be less dependent on other people to do this for you
- Help you to find the nearest and most suitable services
- Help you to ask the right questions
- Help you to provide feedback about what is needed, raise concerns or make a complaint
- Help us to get the services that are important to you available in Wirral
How will the Local Offer help develop better services for local people?
The Local Offer site and the support that Community Action Wirral provides means there is a clear and easy way for feedback to be captured on a regular basis about both the site itself and local services. This information is captured and shared with Wirral Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.
The Health & Social Care Act 2012 placed a duty on all Councils and then Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to undertake a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). The JSNA continues to be the responsibility of Wirral Council with its local health partner, Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group under the new local Health & Wellbeing Board.
JSNA’s are a continuous process of assessment and planning. JSNA authors, provide information and local intelligence to inform planning and ultimately what services will be provided in Wirral. A range of online content helps to identify current and future health and wellbeing needs and to understand current and predicted health and well-being outcomes across the different Wirral communities. In turn JSNA is used to help determine what actions local authorities, the NHS and other partners need to take to meet health and social care needs and to address the wider factors that impact on health and wellbeing.
The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment process is underpinned by partnership working, community engagement and uses relevant evidence. As such the JSNA Lead works with a number of partners to understand the needs and issues they are aware of through their service users. This is how we see JSNA and Local Offer working together, through the development of a process to collect and collate this key information through the Local Offer. That information can be published through the JSNA website, as well as promoted to Commissioners and Service Planners, who in turn have the opportunity to incorporate this ‘expertise’ in their plans and actions.
Wirral JSNA will be providing updated Easy Read documents for a new Learning Disabilities section, a refreshed Autism section and a new Public Health Surveillance Update (Headline key issues for Wirral). We hope to have these available before Christmas 2015. See the JSNA website for more details.
For more information regarding Wirral’s JSNA, please contact John Highton, JSNA Programme Lead on (0151) 666 5151 or click here to visit the JSNA website.
The Wirral Children’s Commissioning Group meets regularly and takes feedback from John who is a member of the Local Offer Development Group.
Local Offer development.
The Local Offer was always intended to evolve as more services and users became aware of the website. Content from a range of Health, Education, Social Care and third sector organisations was added and mechanisms were put in place to identify data around the usage, returning users and the most frequently visited pages.
In December 2016 Wirral Council appointed a full time position to improve the scope and reach of the Local Offer website. The Communication Officer was tasked with actively promoting the Local Offer website and improving the content and accessibility.
Wirral’s SEND Youth Voice group had input into the developing site and gave honest feedback:
- Too much information on a page”
- “ Use words I understand”
- “ I’d prefer brighter colours”
- “I’d like a magnifier”
- “Use bolder fonts”
- “ More videos”
It was evident young people needed greater input. Work in Wirral schools led to the establishment of a pupil forum to facilitate a site review. This helped to assure them they were being listened to and enabled them to be involved in the future shaping of the services Wirral can offer.
A Local Offer Development Group was established and tri-monthly meetings attended by representation from SEND Education, Designated Clinical Officer, Social Care, Parent/Carer forum PCPW, SEND Manager, EHCP Co-ordinator, third sector organisations and SENDIASS.
Regular audits of the Local Offer website highlighted areas requiring more content. Service leads were asked to nominate a Local Offer Champion from within their service to facilitate updating, adding to and deleting content.
Local Offer promotion
In summer 2017, the Local Offer benefitted from the addition of social media. Service users requested both Twitter and Facebook feeds.
SENCOs invited the Local Offer Communication officer into their settings to support at SEND Parent/carer attended events and raise awareness of the resource.
Presentations were given to Health colleagues in the following services:
- O-19 services
- Sensory support services
- Speech & Language
- Occupational Therapies
- Learning disability nurses
- School nurses
- Health services in schools
- Specialist Medical & Physical needs
- Operational managers
Presentations were given to Social Care colleagues in the following services:
- Early Help
- Looked after Children
- Social Workers
- Youth Offending
- Youth Services
Presentations were given to a range of third sector groups including various faith organisations, Wirral Mencap and Autism Together
The Local Offer’s Communication promoted the website and associated social media to local Parent/Carer led groups.
You said, we did
By seeking feedback and acting upon it, wherever possible, the Local Offer has been able to highlight gaps in provision and refer them via the JSNA. Feedback results in the commissioning of SEND provision based on actual rather than perceived need.
As of September 2020 the Local Offer website was required to review it’s accessibility across the entire site. Following a government imposed directive detailed checks were carried out ahead of the audit which measured compliance against the WCAG 2.1 standard. Pleasingly Wirral’s Local Offer website was graded as great and scored 84%. Work continues in this area.