Please read what we have done so far from the feedback we have received from Local offer parent consultations.
Through working with Rochdale Parent Carers Voice – in addition to the monthly coffee morning, we have now put on an evening session which takes place every second Tuesday of each month 6pm to 7.30pm, at Blue Pit Mill in Castleton. Representatives from the Local Authority’s Children with Disabilities Team attend, as well as professionals from SENDIASS and Child Health services.
Going forward, if something is offered during the day we will do our utmost to provide an alternative session for those who may not be able to make a day time session.
The annual Information Day (which took place on 20th June 2018) will always run in the evening as well as throughout the day.
A panel of parents and carers designed and produced a leaflet to promote the Local Offer within the community. These have been distributed throughout the borough via educational settings, activity providers and at events.
Another leaflet is in development and will be aimed at professionals – as it has been identified through feedback that this is where we need to start to solve the issue. This leaflet will be more detailed and less about promotion and more about education.
We are now in the process of developing and delivering a training package for professionals who work with children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. The training package is to educate professionals about what is available on the Local Offer, not only for families but for them. Information is now literally a click away and all in one place.
Our Parent Carer Engagement and Information Officer is working with professionals, parent/carers and school staff to develop a cohesive induction pack that will be rolled out to all new staff that begin working with children and young people with additional needs.
We plan to have this as an online resource as well as a hard copy which will be given out, read and signed by any new starters throughout the Rochdale Borough.
The idea of this is to educate professionals about local support services, groups and events, at an early stage so when they work with families they have the correct information and can signpost you to the correct service or organisation.
The induction pack will be available online from January 2019 and will be regularly updated and added to as things change and develop.
Extensive work has been carried out to look at how we best allocate Short Break places in a more fair and equal way.
It currently works on a first come first served basis and we realise this may not allow some families who need a Short Break to be able to access the one best suited to their child or young person.
A survey monkey questionnaire was completed by 58 parents and carers within the Rochdale Borough. The summary of the survey responses provided will influence decisions on future contracts with Short Break providers.
After the realisation that there were some issues and misunderstandings around the use of a Social Care Personal Budget, a letter was issued to all families who have been awarded a Personal Budget – indicating how various aspects of this will work going forward and to clarify the rules.
Information on Personal Budgets is available on request through professionals and by contacting the Children with Disabilities Team, as each one is different according to your child or young person’s needs.
Local Authority staff, including the Social Work Teams, have now been trained on the use of an Education, Health or Social Care Personal Budget.
Make sure all Rochdale Borough’s educational settings link in to the Local Offer from their web pages
Following this, work has been done alongside Rochdale Parent Carers Voice to ensure all Rochdale Borough educational settings websites link in to Rochdale’s Local Offer.
Settings link via their SEN section or further links section – if not included more prominently on the home page.
Further work is in motion to request that the link includes the Local Offer logo developed by families last year – in order to make it more identifiable across the borough.
The Family Information Service, Rochdale Parent Carers Voice, Child Health and many others have been working hard to create a brand new Local Offer page that is more interactive and user friendly:
The Local Offer website has been redesigned by parents, carers and young people collaboratively with the Local Authority and its partners. Families said they wanted to be able to search by service, age and condition so we have designed the site to do just that.
You can also still search by keywords using the top search bar. All teams have contributed to making this easier by linking keywords to their pages that you may use to try and find them.
The Local Offer is continuously adapting and is being updated. All the services and organisations with a page on the website are able to change their details themselves or can request a change through our Parent Carer Engagement and Information Officer or the Family Information Service.
Our annual information day for parents and carers has continued to grow and expand. Held on the 20 June 2018 at Callaghan House (Children’s Acute and Ongoing Needs Service base). We had over 500 attendees, half of which were parents/carers and half of which were professionals. Through feedback from the previous year we realised we needed more child health professionals to attend as well as post-16 support services.
Following this we have begun to organise a Transition Event, aimed at those leaving school to go into further education. This took place at Hopwood Hall (Middleton Campus) on 10 October 2018.
Preparations have already begun for the 2019 information day – we are currently looking for a more central accessible setting to use for the event, as parking was identified as an issue this year.
Rochdale’s Short Break providers put on a more interactive, showcase type event which took place on 8 October 2017, many families attended to see what was on offer. Once the providers have been confirmed for the next 3 years, another event will be planned.
The Parent Carer Engagement Officer works closely with Rochdale Parent Carers Voice (PCV) as well as any linked in parent groups to help best represent the voice of families across the Rochdale Borough. We have put on training open to all parents and carers to become representatives of the PCV. These reps are invited to meetings at the Local Authority and Child Health as well as some third sector organisations. They are able to help interview for key jobs in education, health and social care - and to sit on panels that make key decisions for change.
We now have an allocation list indicating which parents are assigned to which meeting. All parents and carers are welcome to sign up to PCV and undertake the necessary training in order to come along to sessions and meetings.
PCV have now become a Community Interest Company and have taken over a space in Blue Pit Mill alongside Barnardo’s and SENDIASS.
This enables parents and carers to become more actively involved having a space of their own with information readily available. Our Engagement and Information Officer is based there 2 days a week to maintain links and work with PCV to expand and grow.
We now send out a Newsletter every 3 months which includes a whole host of information, real life stories and advice regarding all things additional needs and disabilities.
Child Health and the Local Authority all contribute to this and the articles are primarily written by parents and carers. Some young people have now got involved and we are constantly on the hunt for more individuals that may be interested in getting involved.
The Newsletter is sent out to all Rochdale Borough educational settings, childminders, children’s centres and is sent directly to parents via our Disability Register which can be found on the Local Offer:
Signing up to the Disability Register allows us to send you relevant information for you and your family rather than bombarding you with things that you may not find useful.
We also reach families through Rochdale Parent Carers Voice and are currently working with them to increase their online presence using social media.
Rochdale Parent Carers Voice has now agreed to work collaboratively with us on the Newsletter, in order to write articles by parents, for parents.
Please see our newsletters below:
We have been working with education, health and social care services to make our communications with you simpler and to the point. There will be no more jargon or acronyms in your letters and the letter should outline clearly what the purpose is, what you need to do and when you need to do it by.
This work is ongoing as we need to identify all services who communicate with you by letter. We will go into each service with parents to go through each letter and adapt accordingly.
Packs are being sent out to providers with advice and guidance on how to write to families in this more effective way.
With waiting lists and increasing workloads for professionals we realise this needs to be made a priority. Events such as the Information Day, Short Break Showcase, Transition Event, drop in sessions and parent groups have increased in volume significantly over the past year. The Rochdale Additional Needs Service Teams have put on drop in sessions, Rochdale Parent Carers Voice has increased the frequency of their groups and work has been done with educational settings to increase the number of parent groups within school.
There is still more work we need to do on this but the progress made so far has benefited many families within Rochdale. There are far more opportunities to talk to professionals face to face – so we’re on the right track.
The Head of Children and Young People’s Additional Needs Service attends a monthly evening session run by PCV at Blue Pit Mill, every second Tuesday of each month (6pm to 7.30pm), in order to give parents the opportunity to speak with him on a one to one basis. His email and number are published in the quarterly newsletter so direct contact can be made. Alternatively our Parent Carer Engagement and Information Officer is contactable Monday to Friday to signpost you to the correct service and to give advice if needed.
It has been a huge transition period for Rochdale Parent Carers Voice (PCV). A large amount of work has been done by them and our Parent Carer Engagement and Information Officer to prepare for a re-launch, including a new website, increase in members and trained representatives, new promotional materials and improved communication methods.
We are ready and waiting to roll this out so be sure to keep an eye out for more information.
Work has been done with schools and professionals to educate them about what the PCV does and how to signpost parents and carers to them. It was felt by parents that the key to making PCV more known amongst families is to focus on informing the professionals you come into contact with at an early stage.
With the increase in collaborative working, PCV’s logo and details are included on much more correspondence with families and now that we have linked in with Child Health – more professionals are aware of the opportunities PCV provides.
The Universal Short Breaks Matrix has been completely re-designed by a panel of parents and carers.
Not only does it look more family friendly, with its colours and layout but you are now able to search by activity type and age range.
As the Short Breaks opportunities change it will be much easier to update the matrix to reflect the most current information.
Work is now being done to make the matrix more interactive by having it on our Local Offer page for all to access. The funds have been agreed to make this happen and we are awaiting confirmation of completion from the IT company carrying out the work.
We decided to put on an event aimed at post 16 young people, as well as those who are approaching this time in their lives in order to best educate and prepare them and their families about any possible options and support going forward.
This took place on 10 October 2018 at Hopwood Hall (Middleton Campus). Colleges, 6th Forms’, providers and services were all invited to take part and invitations were sent out. We can look into making this an annual occurrence or tying it into an existing event.
If you are a member/representative of Rochdale Parent Carers Voice you can now feedback through their website about events, sessions, meetings that you may have attended. This feedback will then go anonymously back to the authority to enforce positive change and development.
Alternatively if you would like to feedback straight to us you can complete our feedback form.
A tour of Number One Riverside has been done, guided by the facilities manager and building staff. A young man with physical needs as well as a rep from Rochdale Parent Carers Voice came along to help identify areas we may need to improve.
Further work will take place in the new academic year as parents and carers have requested our Rochdale Additional Needs Services contribute in their specialist fields: Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Autism, Physical Disabilities and Developmental Language Disorder.
All suggestions for improvements will be considered by a panel of parents and professionals.
New guideline packs have been designed using family feedback and are aimed at those who organise meetings, sessions and events.
The pack includes information on family friendly times, consistency, preparation, inclusion and effective communication.
Professionals are gradually becoming more aware of ensuring sessions are planned at parent friendly times.
Our Parent Carer Engagement and Information Officer along with Parent Carers Voice reps routinely attend Rochdale SENCo Cluster sessions in which Rochdale’s educational settings SEN leads are invited to attend to keep updated with new information, share good practice and network with SEN leads from other settings.
One of our parent reps encouraged schools to begin having a parent group, to give parents an opportunity to make their voices heard and to work productively with school to resolve any issues. From feedback this has worked well and school/parent relationships have improved in the schools which have parent groups.
This model will be used to encourage more schools to hold parent groups.
PCV will be actively attending schools parents evenings and groups to promote themselves as well as the importance of having a group within school other than the traditional Parent and Teachers Association (PTA).