Agenda item

Transforming SEND and Inclusion in Leicestershire.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Children and Family Services which provided an update on the Transforming SEND and Inclusion in Leicestershire (TSIL) programme. It set out the activity undertaken since commencement in August 2022, achievements, progress made and an overview of the current High Needs Block financial position. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 8’ is filed with these minutes.


The Chairman welcomed Stephen Knight and Ashley Page from Newton Europe for this item.


In response to concern regarding the cost of delivering the programme and costs associated to working with the strategic partner, Newton Europe, the Director explained that the decision to work with an external strategic partner had been made as the Council did not have the right capacity and expertise to deliver the complexity of changes required. Therefore, a strategic partner had been commissioned in order to work with them on the programme. Members were assured that Newton Europe had the knowledge to deliver complex change across systems and had experience of transforming services within local authorities. The Director went on to explain that Leicestershire had a high number of children supported in specialist provision, and that the TSIL programme would address demand and delays within the assessment process for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and decrease the deficit within the High Needs Block budget.


Arising from discussion, the following points were raised:


      i.        The Department had been focussed on delivering changes to the High Needs Block since 2017. However, diagnostic work carried out by the programme partner Newton Europe identified that it had not gone far enough in making improvements for children and families. The TSIL programme would aim to transform the whole SEND system, in collaboration with partners, to make services more efficient and to ensure that children would receive the correct level of support within an appropriate environment.


    ii.        The TSIL programme would aim to reduce delays experienced within the SEND system by reducing the time taken to carry out assessments and allocating an accurate level of support the first time. The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman had been concerned about delays within the SEND system, that the service had not always delivered sufficient placements for children, and with the high levels of complaints received. The TSIL programme would focus on addressing these concerns.


   iii.        The Director explained that parents would be engaged earlier in the assessment process and would receive clear information, which would give them more confidence in the process and enable them to understand how a decision had been reached regarding the package of care for their child. This was particularly important when the decision had been made to meet a child’s needs in a mainstream school. For those children, it was also important to make sure that the additional support they would need for a placement in mainstream school to be successful was available.


   iv.        Reporting on EHCP data was based on national statistics across the SEND system. There was concern regarding growth in demand which was higher in Leicestershire when compared to other authorities and members noted that there were a variety of reasons for this, including funding issues. Leicestershire was the lowest funded local authority and as a result schools across Leicestershire had less funding available to support children in mainstream education, despite their will to ensure children are supported well in mainstream schools. Changes to the demographic in Leicestershire and expectations nationally regarding what EHCPs can deliver were also driving demand.




That the update provided on the Transforming SEND and Inclusion in Leicestershire (TSIL) programme, including the activity undertaken since commencement in August 2022, achievements, progress made, and the overview of the current High Needs Block financial position be noted.


Supporting documents: