Following the publication of the inspection report into SEND services in Surrey, the Lib Dems are urging the County Council to go further and faster to improve the experience of those children, young people, and their families who have been adversely impacted by severe delays in needs assessments, and poor lines of communication.
In examining the work of the Surrey Additional Needs and Disabilities Partnership (jointly led by Surrey County Council and NHS Frimley and NHS Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Boards (ICBs)), inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) did find that some progress had been made. However, while they acknowledged that Surrey County Council had started to address some of the sterner challenges it was facing, inspectors found that the allocation of additional funding and other measures were not yet making a real difference to those using the SEND system.
Lib Dem member of the Children's and Families Select Committee Liz Townsend said:
“We recognise that some of the issues facing SEND services are down to national problems such as staff shortages in criticial sectors, but we also know from this report that there are many inconsistencies in what is offered across the county, resulting in what is effectively a ‘postcode lottery’ as to whether a child or young person’s experience of the system turns out to be satisfactory or not.
This is not an acceptable state of affairs and creates a battleground for parents and carers. It will also undoubtedly have a long-term impact on many young lives, and it needs to change. So, we call on Surrey County Council and its partners to go further and faster in their efforts to make the necessary improvements, that will ultimately deliver better outcomes for all parties that need to engage with the SEND process.”